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County deals with transit complaints

By Staff | Jan 24, 2016

After just a few weeks into the new system, the Faribault County Board has already heard a number of complaints from the public about the new joint transit system.

Daniel Woodring, Interfaith Caregivers director, attended the County Board meeting held last Tuesday to share some concerns he has heard in regard to the new Prairie Lakes Transit.

“We are really concerned about the new transit system,”?Woodring said. “We are getting calls from seniors who are really upset.”

Some of the main issues brought forth included seniors being rushed at the stops and a lack of space for walkers or wheelchairs on the bus.

Woodring wondered if there was any solution Interfaith Caregivers could assist with.

“This is an important service to the seniors in the area. We don’t have a means to purchase a bus of our own, and we don’t have enough volunteers to cover all the rides that would be needed,” Woodring said.

Woodring added that a majority of the issues seemed to be coming from the St. Luke’s Lutheran Care Center, New Life Manor and the other facilities on that campus.

“There will be a fair amount of issues on a new endeavor like this,”?commissioner Tom Loveall said.

He explained that with the new route system many of the drivers are focused on getting to the next point and some of the new drivers may not be as familiar with the Blue Earth area.

“Maybe there is something that can be done with St. Luke’s staff to make the loading and unloading go more smoothly,”?he suggested.

Woodring agreed and thought maybe finding a volunteer from Interfaith could also be a possibility.

Loveall added that he would like to get the transit director, Jeremy Monahan, involved with these issues, as well, to try to figure out how to iron out some of the issues.

“Hopefully there is some tweaking that can be done,”?Loveall adds.

The board members agreed to put Monahan in touch with Woodring to discuss the details of his concerns.

The transit system was not the only topic of concern for the Commissioners during their meeting, either.

Michael Kelley, judicial district administrator, and Jon Schiro, drug court interim coordinator, were in attendance to clear up some discussion about the Martin, Faribault and Jackson counties’ drug court coordinator.

“The contract for the coordinator expired on Dec. 31 and the decision was made to not extend the contract,”?Kelley explained. “This was not an easy decision but was made out of financial necessity.”

The local tri-county drug court will now be covered by Schiro and Kevin Mettler who is Brown County’s assistant coordinator.

“All of this is an interim solution as we are working to identify a sustainable funding plan,” Kelley adds.

Some Faribault County commissioners and officials were concerned with the lack of notice on the matter.

“I understand budgets and the need for cuts, but it (drug court) operates more ideally with each area having their own coordinator,”?county attorney Troy Timmerman said. “It would have been nice to get a heads up before it happened.”