The bus system serving Fort Dodge skilled a major drop in passenger numbers final 12 months on account of the COVID-19 pandemic, and can be struggling to recruit drivers.
“We won’t even get anybody to use.” stated Kathryn Pfiffner, government director of Pathfinders Strategic Companions, which manages town’s bus system.
Compounding the issues, the Dodgers Space Speedy Transit constructing at First Avenue South and Sixth Avenue is in want of some main repairs, together with the alternative of a 25-year-old roof.
All of those challenges got here to gentle when Pfiffner introduced the system’s proposed 2021-2022 finances to Metropolis Corridor on Monday.
He expressed confidence that DART can rejuvenate itself.
“I feel we will develop the system and make it very sustainable.” she stated.
Nevertheless, some councilors have been skeptical.
“It appears to me that you’ll have to re-evaluate the entire system.” Councilman Terry Moehnke stated.
Councilman Jeff Halter stated he has “Lots of considerations concerning the sustainability of this.”
Council Member Dave Flattery stated banks would put DART clients on a credit score watch checklist.
“This can be a actual concern”, he stated.
DART’s proposed finances for the fiscal 12 months starting July 1 is $ 1,245,431.
The spending plan offers for $ 1,246,185 in income.
Most of that revenue would come from charges, federal help, and state help. The town would supply $ 262,000 of a 34-cent property tax per $ 1,000 of taxable worth.
Of town’s contribution, $ 227,000 could be for working bills and $ 35,000 could be for capital enhancements.
“This finances implies that we’re again in full operation.” Pfiffner stated.
Lack of riders
In fiscal 12 months 2018-2019, the final earlier than COVID-19 revolutionized a lot of American life, DART had 119,660 passengers.
Throughout the 2019-2020 fiscal 12 months, which included among the worst months of the pandemic, DART had 90,534 passengers.
Because the starting of the present fiscal 12 months on July 1, 2020, DART has had 24,276 passengers.
Pfiffner stated that the bus system numbers have dropped considerably as a consequence of COVID.
She stated the transit service really stopped from March to June of final 12 months.
Moehnke requested why the working prices of the automobiles didn’t lower for the reason that buses weren’t used for some months.
Pfiffner responded that restore prices elevated, due partially to a lot of accidents.
In keeping with Pfiffner, DART wants 16 drivers. You now have half that quantity. Administrative employees are being put to work driving buses to cowl all routes.
He stated that final September, six folks utilized for driver positions. Just one individual confirmed up for an interview. That individual was employed, however DART has not been in a position to rent anybody since.
The beginning wage for drivers is $ 12 an hour; $ 12.50 an hour if they’ve a business driver’s license.
The proposed finances contains a rise of $ 1 per hour for drivers.
Contains $ 845,000 for wages and advantages.
Pfiffner. who turned the chief of Pathfinders Strategic Companions final 12 months, stated DART has by no means earlier than submitted a finances proposal that features cash for the 16 essential drivers. He stated he did not know why.