Menominee Transit to be new operator of City Cab

Transit department promises additional services to city riders
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Menominee Transit will run Shawano’s City Cab service starting in January under a five-year agreement approved Thursday by the Shawano Common Council.

The city is required to request proposals to provide shared-ride taxi services every five years and awarded the contract this time around to the Menominee Department of Transit Services of Keshena.

Tim Reed, director of the Menominee Department of Transit Services, said operations will be run out of the Keshena office, which will handle dispatching and vehicle maintenance, but there will be a staging area set up in Shawano so vehicles won’t have to come from Keshena to pick up riders.

Reed said the location for the staging area hasn’t been determined yet.

“We’re excited to have the opportunity,” Reed said. “It’s going to be neat to be able to work with the city and their residents and coordinate the ridership we have with Keshena as well and connect all of our services.”

Though the regional bus service that Menominee Transit runs and which includes the city of Shawano is separate from the city’s shared-ride taxi service, the agreement with the city does provide for opportunities to coordinate those services, Reed said, because the bus service and City Cab have the same source of grant funding.

“By having the service on both sides of that, we can coordinate the rides more efficiently now for the ridership in whatever community and wherever they’re going,” he said.

Reed said most people might not be aware that the bus service is open to everyone.

“Anyone can ride that,” he said. “It’s a public service. We are actually a statewide service. We have regional routes and will go anywhere.”

The shared-ride service runs from 6 a.m. to 7 p.m. Mondays through Thursdays, 6 a.m., to 9 p.m. on Fridays, 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. on Saturdays and 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Sundays.

However, Reed told the Common Council, the cab service can also make special trips for such things as someone discharged from the hospital during the overnight hours and in need of a ride home.

It’s been a longstanding complaint from city residents that they previously have had no means of transportation outside of City Cab’s regular hours.

“If there’s something we see as a recurring issue, that’s something we can look at in terms of services to make sure that we’re providing that continuously,” Reed said. “But, yes, any time there’s someone who needs a ride, give us a call.”

The city owns five handicapped-accessible vehicles that will be leased to Menominee Transit at $1 each per year. Menominee Transit will be responsible for vehicle maintenance.

State Department of Transportation funds cover 65 percent of City Cab’s operating costs. The other 35 percent is covered through ridership fares.

Menominee Transit would charge the city $28.52 per hour of service, which would total $327,751, but that would be offset by the fares Menominee Transit collects.

The city would be responsible only for the amount left over, if any, after fares are collected. However, according to Assistant City Administrator Eddie Sheppard it has been several years since the city has had to make up for any deficit in cab fares.

Viroqua-based Running Inc. has been running the cab service since 2014. Their contract expires at the end of the year. Prior to that, it was Top Hat Inc. of La Crosse.

Running Inc. was one of three other companies that bid for the shared-ride service. The others were FDS Enterprises of Hudson and Freedom Vans of Bryant.

The contract includes an annual review by the city, under which the contract could be terminated if conditions are not met.

ONLINE

Information on Menominee Transit bus routes, schedules and fares available at http://www.mitwbus.com.