Souris Basin Transportation has begun building a new 9,600-square-foot facility that will have storage for 10 buses and six vans, as well as office space for dispatchers and administration, and a drivers lounge.
The facility is located at 805-31st St. SE in Minot, with construction expected to be finished by October.
"The need we have is great. On January 1 of 2009, we merged with the Minot Commission on Aging's transit service. We went from giving 30,000 rides in 2008 to giving 84,000 rides in 2009," said Darrell Francis, executive director for Souris Basin Transportation.
Darrell Francis, executive director for Souris Basin Transportation, is pictured with a Souris Basin bus.
"Our biggest concern at our current facility was a lack of storage for our vehicles and lack of office space. Right now, over half our fleet is stored outside," he said.
The new facility is being built in part with grant funding through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. That grant funding totals $900,000, with the total cost of the project sitting at $1.25 million. Souris Basin will cover the rest of the cost using its reserve funds, as well as through looking for other grants and donations.
Once the new facility is completed, Souris Basin will continue to use its current facility as a maintenance and training location.
"When we are able to use the old building for maintenance, we'll be able to have more vehicles inside to work on them than before. Using it for training space, we'll be able to provide a more accessible classroom to the drivers that we train," Francis said.
Souris Basin Transportation has been providing transportation for people with disabilities, the elderly and the general public since 1979, covering seven counties. After merging with the Minot Commission on Aging transit, they also cover transportation within Minot's city limits. Souris Basin currently has 34 employees and 27 vehicles.