Posted 8/30/16 (Tue)
By Kevin Killough
Tioga could get an in-town bus service soon.
It’s good news for anyone with limited mobility, and it’s a success story for Wildrose Public Transportation. The new in-town route will run Wednesdays, Sept. 7 and 28, as an experiment to gauge demand.
“We’re going to try it out and see how it goes. We can adjust the route depending on people’s needs,” said WPT manager Candy Hartman.
She said she expects most of their customers will be people in assisted living, and it could see higher demand in winter.
“So they don’t have to struggle with the icy roads and parking lots,” Hartman said.
The route will go to the senior center, post office, clinic, Cash Wise, and Shopko.
The non-profit is also looking at picking people up at home.
If all goes well and there’s enough need for it, the service could become weekly this fall.
This new service is on top of its between-town service, which serves Wildrose, McGregor, Tioga, Ray, Grenora, Plentywood, and Williston.
The expansion of the service is good news for people who need it, especially when, not too long ago, there were fears it would vanish altogether.
In Jan. 2015, the non-profit had only enough money to last until April. On top of their financial trouble, they had a lot of trouble finding drivers.
By April, they had seen public and private financial support come in to keep the service going, but then an accident left them without a bus.
Fortunately no one was injured in the accident, and a bus service out of Minot gave them a loaner to pull them through until the bus could be replaced.
Now, thanks to all the support they’ve received, WPT has a second bus and five drivers. Hartman said she is grateful for all the community support they’ve received.
“The community, as far as donations, it’s been tremendous,” Hartman said.
The new bus is the result of a large grant the from North Dakota Community Foundation, along with donations from Wildrose Senior Citizen Center, Wildrose Lion’s Club, Tioga Machine Shop, Dr. Carlson’s office, NCC, and Hess.
Hartman said there was also an assortment of donations from private individuals to help get the second bus.
For information on their routes, fees, and any other questions, people can contact Hartman at 701-539-2364.