ROCHESTER, Minn.- MnDOT is answering the needs of the people who need bus services in rural parts of the state.
MnDOT said they are listening to riders' demands and are working to meet them.
To meet the demands from riders and the state legislature goal of meeting 90 percent of the public transit need for greater Minnesota by 2025, MnDOT released a 20-year investment plan.
We caught up with a few riders in the Rochester area to get their perspective.
Hanna Vaught is a college student who rides the bus every day to school.
“It’s easier and less stressful to try to find parking downtown,” said Vaught. “Plus, the bus runs pretty reguarly so it doesn't matter if I drive or not ... time to get there and back is the same.”
Vaught said if she lived in a rural area she wouldn’t catch the bus.
“I would just rather drive if I live in a small town.”
The investment means the state will invest in districts by awarding grants to help beef up their public transportation. This could mean on-site construction as well as operation grants.
Another rider, Paul Schmidt, has lived all across Minnesota. He said in the past he would to wait 40 minutes to an hour for buses.
However, Schmidt said in recent years the buses have run on time.
“Years ago, you would leave almost two hours ago just to get to work on time. Today, you can leave like 30 minutes before on a bad day,” said Schmidt “It’s gotten a lot better.”
MnDOT is concerned about reaching the goal after the Legislature’s Transportation Finance Omnibus bill reduced the general fund appropriation by $16 million for fiscal year 2018 for Greater Minnesota transit.
But Tim Henkel, assistant commissioner for Modal Planning and Program Management, said “the target hasn’t changed, but how we pay for it has.”