Tuesday, April 16, 2019

The idea of having a local transit system in the Faulkton area was first brought to the Quality of Life committee in June of 2018.  It was reported that historically meetings that had addressed this issue in the past were poorly attended and so the idea was always dropped.  However, with the state instituting a regional transit system in October of 2019, it was decided to move ahead and further investigate the possibility of establishing this service for the Faulkton area.

A well-attended public meeting held at the Autumn Leaves Senior Center last August had representatives from the Aberdeen, Watertown and Sisseton transit systems available to answer questions.  Because of that meeting and the interest shown, a transportation survey was put together and the results were shared with the Regional Aging Council and the state DOT for further analysis.  They recommended moving forward with a transit plan for the Faulkton area.

Basics of the Faulkton Area Transit System will be to service Faulkton for a period of time before expanding outside the city limits.  Hours of service to start will be Monday through Friday from 8am until 6pm with two part time drivers employed.  The drivers will be local, but will go through the hiring process with the regional office.   They will be trained in passenger assistance and wheelchair assistance.  They will also be responsible for keeping track of mileage each day, age and destination of riders.  A monthly report will be filed with the regional office, which tracks all the information.  Drivers are not required to have a CDL license as Faulkton's bus will be 12-passenger bus and have accommodations for wheelchairs.

Rides will be paid for with tokens, which will be available to purchase in bulk, and will be for each one-way ride.  At this time the committee is looking at the cost of tokens to customers at $1.00 each and will be able to be purchased at a central location.

The local transit system is responsible for 50% of the operating costs, which include wages and fringe, fuel and maintenance, garage space expenses and other/miscellaneous.  They will also be responsible for 20% of Administrative costs and include vehicle and vehicle insurance, advertising and marketing, office supplies, bus cameras, 2-way radios, cell phone for driver and drug testing.  Funds come from fundraisers, donations, grants, sponsorships, and government entities.  All monies raised will stay in Faulkton and used only for the local transit system.  All donations will be tax deductible.

A local advisory committee will be formed and one member will be designated to represent the Faulkton area on the regional board.

The transit system is for all ages including local school children and all rides need to be reserved at least one day in advance.  Plans are to have the system in place before school begins.

For more information please feel free to contact Quality of Life Chairperson Linda Bartholomew or Economic Development Director Trevor Cramer.  The Quality of Life committee is a pillar of the Faulkton Area Economic Development Corporation with its mission to "Positively Promote the Quality of Life of All Ages of Citizens In the Faulkton Area."  Their next meeting is April 25 at 10:00am in the City Hall meeting room and anyone is welcome to attend.

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