Public transit route to University of Mary may discontinue

Getting from one place to another can be as simple as hopping on the nearest public transportation bus. But that’s in jeopardy for Bismarck area college students. Shelby Rose tells us about the possible future for the University of Mary’s bis-man transit services. 

The green route on Bisman Transit is one of 6 serving Bismarck and Mandan. It travels through south Bismarck – going from Kirkwood Mall to the University of Mary, and it started in April of 2017. 

“We felt that there was a need with the large population of students out there that they might need some public transportation,” said executive director of Bisman Transit, Roy Rickert.

It cost Bisman Transit $40,000 dollars to run out to the university for the year. However what was generated through fees only amounted to a little over $2,500 dollars. 

Bismarck City Commissioner Josh Askvig said,  “We’re sending $38,000 dollars out to a university that’s not using the service at a level that would support the operation of that bus, and instead having folks that are paying taxes in the community not being able to use it.”

Because of that, the extension out to U-Mary’s campus may not happen any more. It’s being funded by property taxes as well as grants, both state and federal.

“I’ve said from day one that I didn’t think this was a good idea. I don’t want to say I told you so, but I didn’t think it was going to be successful and it has proven that it wasn’t,” said Askvig. 

Askvig isn’t the only city commissioner opposing the continuation of the route, but its still being discussed. This portion could be saved if the university stepped up to cover the costs of its operation.

Rickert added, “There is still that potential that they will come back and say, hey we would like to still do this and we’ll pay for it. That has not occurred yet.”

A final decision is expected by the end of the summer. If it is ultimately discontinued, the green route will still exist, just the extension out to the University will be no more.

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