Published On: Wed, Nov 16th, 2011

New handi-bus may be important for County

HARTINGTON — The Cedar County Transit System may soon have a brand new lowered-floor handi-bus.
If the purchase is made, grant funds from the Federal Transit Administration will pay for 80 percent of the cost of the vehicle. The county will be responsible for 20 percent, which will run around $6,000, according to Cedar County Clerk Dave Dowling.

“It’s a very good deal for the county,” Dowling said. “The county can do what they want with the handi-bus they have now. It can be auctioned off or advertised with bids taken. A decision will be made later.”
The handi-bus has been important to a number of the residents in Cedar County especially elderly people who no longer have family members living in the area.
Requests to use the handi-bus have increased this year according to Ann M. Lentz, manager of the county transit system.
“The bus is really needed,” Lentz said
So far this year, from January -October, the handi-bus has traveled 24,517 miles and had 1,216 boardings.
Just during the month of October, the handi-bus traveled 2,847 miles.
“Medical appointments take priority over other trips,” Lentz said. “We now have three people who are on dialysis that requires one trip to Norfolk and  two to Yankton.”
The handi-bus, which is available for general public transportation regardless of age or disability, will take into consideration the special needs of the elderly and those with disabilities. The new van will be equipped to accommodate a wheelchair passenger.
Drivers for the Cedar County Transit System include Lentz who worked as a substitute driver for close to eight years and has been the manager for the last six years.
Mary Rose Pinkelman and Carol Bruning are substitute drivers.
Cost for riding the handi-bus include:
Round trip, out of the county – $5
Round trip, in the county – $4
In town – $2
Traveling to Omaha or Sioux Falls is an additional amount.

A hearing on the purchase of the new handi-bus will be held at 11 a.m., during the Nov. 22 Commission meeting, at the Cedar County Courthouse.
Commissioner Dave McGregor supervises the County’s Transit System.

Records for the last four years show:
2007; traveled 22,154 miles with 1,348 boardings
2008; traveled 22,657 miles with 1,318 boardings
2009; traveled 15,744 miles with 1,234 boardings
2010; traveled 17,965 miles with 985 boardings.