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Hillsdale’s Dial-A-Ride hopes to expand its trans­portation system. (Photo: Wiki­media)

 

It might be a lot easier to catch a ride in Hillsdale by the end of the 2017 fiscal year.

The Dial-A-Ride Trans­portation busing service has part­nered with local private non-profit Key Oppor­tu­nities to start a Mobility Man­agement program, a new measure aimed at cen­tral­izing the city’s trans­portation. Bonnie Tew, Finance Director of the City of Hillsdale, said the strategy is funded by a $35,000 grant from the Michigan Department of Trans­portation.

Tew said Hillsdale is working toward the installment of this program to improve cit­izens’ under­standing of the city’s trans­portation options.

Tew con­firmed Dial-A-Ride has requested $200,000 in MDOT grants to replace two new vehicles for Dial-A-Ride’s use, but said this is not out of the ordinary — the orga­ni­zation applies for this kind of funding on an annual basis.

Boyce said she ini­tially learned of Mobility Man­agement at a con­ference on the program hosted by MDOT last year.

“We are hoping to be able to provide infor­mation regarding trans­portation, and connect people to others with trans­portation through the Mobility Man­agement program,” Key Oppor­tu­nities Exec­utive Director Julie Boyce said.

The Mobility Man­agement team is cur­rently in the planning stages of how to com­mu­nicate the infor­mation they have com­piled to the com­munity. Other counties have tried putting the infor­mation online, but that method did not improve the trans­portation com­mu­ni­cation, based on responses in the respective areas. She said they hope to have some­thing put together and in action within the next few months.

Boyce said one facet of the new Mobility Man­agement plan may be recruiting vol­un­teers to help drive res­i­dents, though she is not sure what that would look like.

So far, Boyce said Key Oppor­tu­nities has com­piled all of the infor­mation of the city’s available trans­portation, which includes their system, Dial-A-Ride’s system, and the driver the hos­pital has. Key Oppor­tu­nities runs routes three times a day to all parts of Hillsdale County for work-related and non-emergent medical needs.

“Nothing we provide is a per­manent fix,” she said.

Boyce said most of the rides Key Oppor­tu­nities pro­vides transport local vet­erans to the Vet­erans Affairs Hos­pitals in Ann Arbor, Michigan, and Jackson, Michigan. The Hillsdale Hos­pital has also recently hired a new driver who gives rides to patients without their own trans­portation.

Dial-A-Ride pro­vides trans­portation to 150 – 180 cit­izens everyday, and operates within city limits. Dial-A-Ride dis­patcher Susan Kehn said that in addition to its door-to-door ser­vices, Dial-A-Ride also drives children to school.

“If Key Oppor­tu­nities are going to compile some­thing like this, I think that would be a great idea,” Kehn said. “We aren’t available 24/7, just like most places.”

  • disqus_odKVC5cL1k

    Just a curiosity, 200k for 2 vehicles. A ramp con­verted minivan runs 54k, so what am I missing? Main­te­nance and oper­ating costs on the larger bus style vehicles is far higher than the minivans. If they last about the same time, how many runs actually have more than 2 chairs in the van at one time?

  • disqus_odKVC5cL1k

    Don’t take this wrong, but having to tell people how to find a ride?

    I can see putting it online doesn’t help, they aren’t savvy enough to Google it already. So, Tip-Off delivered weekly, take that 35k, Front page is $525, 52 weeks, bingo, problem solved. Better, take 1/2 page inside, $232 for 52 weeks, just send me the $20k leftover. See how hard that was to figure out, and I didn’t even go to a con­ference on it.