Souris Basin Transportation serving Minot for 38 years

Submitted Photo A Souris Basin Transportation bus drops off Minot residents at Dakota Square Mall. Souris Basin covers seven counties around the Minot area and includes towns like Rugby and Bottineau.

Being a part of Minot for nearly 40 years, 38 to be exact, Souris Basin Transportation is an integral part of the city’s transit system.

Souris Basin Transportation is a non-profit transit system that began in 1979. Souris Basin serves Minot and the surrounding rural communities in the following seven counties: Burke, Mountrail, Renville, Bottineau, Pierce, McHenry and Ward.

While the initial purpose of the system was for transporting the elderly in rural Minot, Executive Director Darrell Francis is hoping to change the perception from elderly to everyone.

“It’s a very needed service,” said Francis. “It’s very affordable.”

All vehicles from the Souris Basin Transit, 10 vans and 16 buses that hold up to 14 passengers, are accessible. Their main goal was to transport the elderly to and from appointments, on outings, and to the grocery store so that they could remain in their homes and independent longer.

As Souris Basin expands, Francis wants to remind residents that anyone can use the service as long as they make a reservation at least 24 hours in advance.

To reserve a ride, residents can call up to seven days in advance.

“It’s not a fixed route, so when they come up to your curb … if you need the ramp or you need assistance, that’s what we do,” said Francis about the accessibility. They are a curb to curb service that tried to accommodate as many as they can.

They’ve grown from four routes to 12. These routes mainly work in city limits but will go a little out of town as long as you call and ask. In town, each ride is $2.50.

Unlike other businesses in the area, Francis says Souris Basin Transportation did not slow down because of the decline of the oil boom. On the contrary, the transit system has been growing and gotten busier according to Francis.

“Right now we’re working on a project and funding for a route from Minot to Bismarck,” Francis said. “That’s to replace the Jefferson Busline system that ceased to operate that route about two years ago.”

In the mean time, Souris Basin continues to service Minot and surround areas with rides to appointments or out on the town. The accessibility is needed not only in our community, but communities across the state.

Francis says the service runs from 7:30 a.m. to 10 p.m. in Minot and is valuable to not only the elderly but people who do not have access to cars or the public that do not have access to the city’s fixed routes.

“It’s no longer just for seniors,” Francis said. “It is a public transportation system. Our busses from the rural (areas) are not full, they’re about three-quarters, so there’s room. They just have to call and find out.” Francis also said they will deviate off the routes if people live close to the highway, striving to make this service accessible for everyone.

To make a reservation or inquire about a ride, the office is open 7:30 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday, and can be reached at (800) 927-8318 or 839-7433. If you are using a wheelchair or walker, please inform dispatch so the driver can prepare to assist you.