Users of Black River Falls Public Transit, the city's shared-ride taxi service, have been experiencing lengthy wait times since the city contracted with a new company in January of 2015. City Administrator Brad Chown has been working with the third party vendor operating the taxi service, the Wisconsin Department of Transportation (DOT), and local stakeholders to identify problem areas and find solutions to the problem. "The shared-ride taxi service is a vital program that provides low cost public transportation for a significant portion of the city's population including the elderly and the disabled. Riders use it to access basic needs such as getting to the grocery store, accessing healthcare, and many people rely on it as a means of getting to work and back home again", explains Chown.
Black River Falls Public Transit currently provides taxi service 6:00am-11:00pm Sunday-Thursday and 6:00am-3:00am on Fridays and Saturdays, but that may change soon. The shared-ride taxi service relies heavily on state and federal funds. The City of Black River Falls is responsible for any operating deficit remaining after combining the state and federal aid with fare revenues collected. In February of 2015, the Wisconsin DOT and the Black River Falls Common Council authorized adding 10 hours per week to the operating schedule in an effort to meet the demand of the system, but this did little to help the wait times. The city has been evaluating call demand data for the city's shared-ride taxi service provided by Running, Inc, the third party vendor operating the shared-ride taxi service. Records indicate Black River Falls Public Transit is only providing, on average, one ride (or less) per hour between the hours of 11:00pm and 3:00am on Friday and Saturday nights. "In an effort to meet the demand for taxi service and schedule taxis when call volume is at its highest, I will be proposing to change the Friday and Saturday operating hours to 6:00am-1:00am on Friday nights and 6:00am-11:00pm on Saturday nights", says Chown. "This proposal will allow us to schedule additional taxis during peak service times Monday-Friday. If we can stay ahead of the call demand by having enough vehicles available at the appropriate times, then we should be able to significantly reduce or eliminate wait times in excess of 20 minutes."
- Written by Mary Gerdes
- Category: News
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