RIDES Seeks County Funding
“I bring to you our annual request for funding for Palo Alto County,” said RIDES Executive Director Hugh Lively, introducing the funding request for the Regional Transit Authority that serves the nine-county area.
The request came during the Jan. 24, meeting of the Palo Alto County Board of Supervisors.
Lively asked the board for a total of $6,000, with $2,000 going to operations and $4,000 to the capital.
“How much did you get last year?” asked Supervisor Keith Wirtz.
“We asked for the same amount last year, and we actually received a total of $3,600,” said Lively. “I ask for the same amount every year; it hasn’t gone up from previous years.”
Lively provided a summary of the transportation that RIDES provided in 2011.
“We’ve provided over 23,000 trips, as you can see,” Lively noted.
He added that the City of Emmetsburg and Northwest Aging each provided $9,000 of funding for RIDES services.
“We’re beginning to take a look at some of the outlying communities in Palo Alto County,” Lively shared. “All of the cities that we provide service to, like Emmetsburg, we have down pretty well. We’d like to try and get service from some of these smaller communities into Emmetsburg. That’s going to be our next big emphasis.”
Wirtz wondered if Lively meant that there would be one day a week when transportation service is offered from, for example, Mallard, to Emmetsburg for people to do shopping or attend Dinner Date meals.
“Yes, we get that request from all the counties we serve,” said Lively. “It’s just in the last couple of years that we’ve started asking for some of the operations money from the counties.”
Supervisor Ron Graettinger asked Lively about the condition of the RIDES vehicles.
“They’re pretty good vehicles at the moment. We still have some aging vehicles, though,” noted Lively. “Because of stimulus money we were able to cover about half of our fleet.”
“Do you use all the buses in your fleet every day?” asked Graettinger. “What percentage of those do you actually use?”
Lively answered, “We probably use 75-percent. We have started to shrink our fleet a bit as we get rid of vehicles”
“How many vehicles do you actually have?” Graettinger asked.
“We have around 60 at the moment,” said Lively. “When I started, the fleet was right around 75.”
Lively noted that he appreciates all of the assistance that RIDES receives from the county.
“We’re proud of the work we’re doing and there’s room for improvement, but RIDES has evolved into a very good agency,” Lively surmised.
“Well, we’re working on budgets right now and we’ll see what we can do,” Wirtz said, bringing the discussion to a close.