The Ohio Museum of Transportation

Ohio's Transit History

Wooster Transit System

Transit service in Wooster, Ohio started in 1938 with one bus and one driver providing service, on a more or less fixed route system, to the residents of the area. Service remained this way until WWII when additional buses, drivers and service were implemented. This privately owned transit company was purchased by the City of Wooster in 1973 and service slowly started to expand and new equipment was purchased.

Wooster City Transit Flxible # 5
Wooster's 1977 Flxible #5 (35096-6-1) in service.  This coach along with others were sold later to the Richland County Transit system.

Service was provided by small fleet of 30 foot buses, including Flxible 35096-6-1's, Orion I's and Blue Bird transits from the 1970's through the 1990's. These coaches operated over a small route network with coaches meeting at a central location for passenger transfers. It is unknown at this time what coaches were operated prior to the public takeover of the system.

At the height of the service in 1985, 205,000 riders rode the system but there still was not a need for many coaches to handle that ridership level. Information indicates that the bus fleet rarely, if ever went into double digits. The high ridership for such a small system was not to last however as ridership started to fall off drastically after 1985. This steady decrease in ridership, along with cuts in Federal funding and Wooster residents defeating a funding tax levy measure to help fund the operational cost of $300,000 a year, spelled out that the end was near for transit in Wooster.

Service was reduced as ridership dropped. Weekend service was eliminated in 1994. By 1995, ridership had dropped to 59,000 riders and only 3 buses were needed to hold down the weekday schedule. Ridership continued to drop and by July 1996, only 28,000 riders had ridden in the first half of the year which is less than half of the 1995 ridership levels.

The decision was made by the Wooster City Council to abandon service due to the lack of funding and the continued decrease in ridership. After 58 years of having transit service in the city, Wooster Transit System ceased operations on August 23, 1996 and it's remaining coaches were sold off.

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Page updated on August 13, 2004