STEVENS POINT, WI (WSAU) - It appears there may be another joint effort soon involving the City of Stevens Point and Portage County. A few weeks ago, it was emergency dispatching operations. This time, it’s special needs transportation.
Point Transit’s Director Susan Lemke and Portage County Aging & Disability Resource Center Director Janet Zander are proposing a unified effort to coordinate the county’s fixed route buses that serve mostly rural areas and some parts of the city, the volunteer driver program, and Point Transit’s paratransit buses known as Point Plus, which operate within close proximity to city bus routes.
Zander says by sharing a single call center, staff, billing department, shared maintenance, bulk fuel purchasing, plus the ability to cooperatively bring in more state and federal dollars, it would allow them to provide more rides and meet unmet needs.
Lemke says she knows of no other effort to coordinate city and county transportation programs in the state, and if approved, would help cover needs that are not adequately met right now.
Lemke says combining their resources may lead to expanded service hours, which many riders have been asking for.
Zander says most of the funding sources would be about the same, but there is one area where the coordination will bring in significantly more operating funds from state and federal programs, and that will help fund more service expansion.
Zander and Lemke say another presentation will be made to the Portage County Board next week. If the various committees approve, and it passes county board and city council, they could prepare to combine the operations on January 1st of next year.