Hall County Public Transportation hopes to expand services

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    Changes could be coming for bus services in Hall County.

    The City of Grand Island's three–year contract with Senior Citizens transit is coming to an end, allowing for a new service provider to haul the folks of Grand Island.

    Three providers have come forward, proposing working with the city. One, being their current partners Senior Citizen Industries, another being a local provider Holiday, and a third being Arrow Stage Lines out of Omaha.

    Charley Falmlen said bus fares, times and services will not change regardless of the new provider.

    "There really isn't too much opportunity for change in terms of service since obviously the city and the county are going to be doing everything the exact same, the providers have the ability to manage the front line however they'd like, so number of drivers, if they want one scheduler or two schedulers,” said Falmlen.

    Falmlen said she believes employees will most likely stay the same, but down the line they could hire on more transit personnel.

    They'll be reviewing each proposal in the coming weeks, scoring the companies on points like price and past performance.

    "Other things that they're looking at is just the agency's compatibility with the city and the county and the direction that we're going and things we'd like to do in the future to grow service, increase service, changes that could potentially be coming further on down the line,” said Falmlen.

    The chances of those changes are high. The city is looking at growing transportation services in a few areas.

    "The Transit Needs Analysis made multiple suggestions for growth. One of them was adding an intercity bus service, another one was starting a ride share app, and then a third one was creating a van pool program for local employers,” said Falmlen.

    The state and city are working with local companies and conducting more research to make some of those programs a reality in the future.

    By the end of February, a provider will be chosen and then a contract will be worked up by June.

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