CLARION - Clarion County's transportation service is facing two challenges -- a lack of riders and a lack of drivers.

Karen Clark, the general manager of MTM, recently told Clarion County commissioners ridership on the system is only at 65 percent of pre-COVID levels.

Clark said that prior to the pandemic the ridership was more than 5,000 a quarter, but that dipped to just over 1,000 during the shutdown. Ridership has risen to more than 3,000 in the recent quarter.

Clark said the county's reimbursement from the state is based on ridership.

An additional difficulty is finding drivers, and Clark said MTM currently needs six drivers. She said a commercial driver's license isn't required but some professional driving experience is preferred.

MTM has managed the county's transportation system since 2011. Clark has been with MTM for three years, and prior to that she was general manager of the Venango County system until it merged with Crawford County.

Under Clarion County's arrangement with MTM, the county purchases vehicles through PennDOT but MTM operates the system and hires all employees.

The county offers reduced rate transportation for ages 65 and older under the Pennsylvania Lottery system, reduced rate transportation for persons with disabilities, transportation for adults with a valid medical card, wheelchair accessible vehicles, supportive services transportation and special transports to Erie and Pittsburgh.

Clark said one day's notice is required for next day pick-up and two-day' notice is needed for an out-of-county trip.

Anyone who wants to apply for transportation service can call (814) 226-7012.