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Laketran invests $22 million for facility expansion and renovation

Rendering of the renovated Laketran headquarters set to complete late fall 2024.
Rendering of the renovated Laketran headquarters set to be completed in late fall 2024.

Laketran, Lake County's public transportation service, broke ground on a $22 million investment to refresh its 30-year-old facility and expand bus storage and office space.

Laketran CEO Ben Capelle said the investment will help meet increased demand for public transit, including Laketran’s dial-a-ride service, a door-to-door assisted transportation system.

“We are limited by the number of vehicles we can put on the road every day by how many we can store,” he said. “This is a pretty important thing for our dial-a-ride service about being able to meet that rising demand.”

Since passing a levy in 2019, Laketran has expanded its services and increased ridership. According to Capelle, Laketran will be adding 25,000 square feet of bus storage at its bus garage in Painesville to make space for 40 more dial-a-ride buses.

Laketran will also add 11,500 square-feet of office space to accommodate additional employees, expand the customer service center and facilitate a better training environment, Capelle said.

The expanded office space will create a better work environment for employees, he added.

“We have employees right now that are working in closets and doubled up in offices and all kinds of undesirable work environments that this building will address,” Capelle said. “We have to make sure that they have a good space to be in and a space that allows them to be productive and happy.”

Public transit is an asset to the community for senior citizens and disabled people who cannot drive, and for employees who need transportation to their jobs, he said.

“From a senior or person with disabilities’ perspective, it’s everything, it’s their freedom,” he said. “We also hear pretty consistent need from our local manufacturers that transit service is important to them to attract employees.”

Laketran plans to continue meeting the community’s needs in the future, Capelle said.

“We spend a lot of time trying to stay connected to our community and understanding what they want and what the needs are,” he said. “I think that has been one of our big successes over the years is how well we connect with the community.”

The $22 million investment is funded by federal and state grants and is set to be complete by late fall 2024.

Grace Springer is a journalism student at Kent State University. She is the General Assignment Editor for KentWired and covers executive administration for student media.