An ongoing study of Minot's public transportation system reveals that a lack of qualified bus drivers is one of the biggest deterrents to expanding the system.
During the annual Americans with Disabilities Act public meeting last week, residents expressed wishes for additional service hours. The Minot city busses run from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday, expanding those hours to 7 a.m. to 9 a.m. from September through May to accommodate students. Souris Basin Transportation operates weekdays in Minot until 9:30 p.m. and on weekends if drivers are available.
Lack of drivers was also discussed at last week's meeting, with city officials saying they are short three drivers. Souris Basin is looking for two more drivers.
With the population of Minot and the surrounding area growing, the need for public transportation has increased, too. But it's difficult to expand the system with more vehicles or longer hours when there aren't enough drivers to fill the routes, and when funding can be difficult to come by to cover the additional costs of expansion.
The city continues to collect information from residents in an effort to make necessary changes to the system. People can still offer comments through an online survey at (www.minotbusstudy.com). We would encourage anyone with an interest in the public transportation system to fill out the survey. The city needs as much information as possible before moving forwad with any changes.