Archived Story

Albert Lea Transit to send a bus to neighbor cities

Published 1:00pm Friday, February 22, 2013

Starting in May, Albert Lea Transit will offer a new bus route to rural communities outside of Albert Lea.

The route will service Wells, Alden, Glenville, Clarks Grove, Hayward, Emmons and Twin Lakes initially, and more cities may be added at a later time, according to a news release.

“As a transit agency we know there’s always been a need for people who are out of the city limits to be picked up,” said Garry Hart, manager of Albert Lea Transit and parent company Cedar Valley Services.

Freeborn County is one of seven counties in Minnesota without rural public transportation, he said.

Because of that need, the company applied for grant funding for the project through the Minnesota Department of Transportation. It was awarded a $70,000 grant for fuel, staffing, insurance and maintenance for the rural route and an additional $76,000 grant to purchase a new bus. The company will pay a 20 percent match out of its reserves — something Hart said he hopes will be paid back quickly through revenues.

The route will run Mondays through Fridays from 7 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. The exact path of the route has yet to be determined.

Hart said the cost per rider also needs to be finalized but will probably be $2.50 or $3 for one way.

“We have this opportunity to try it, so we’re going to go forward with it,” he said. “The goal is to try to get as many people as possible to ride it, so we can show MnDOT there is a need in Freeborn County.”

Albert Lea Transit is hosting community forums to discuss the possibilities for rural transit during the next few months.

A meeting is scheduled in Emmons from 9:30 to 10:30 a.m. Tuesday at the Emmons Lutheran Church and in Glenville on March 11.

Albert Lea Transit will continue its existing Dial-A-Ride service and the other routes already in place within the Albert Lea city limits.