We sat down with Bismarck Public Works and Bis-Man Transit to find out how they are coping with increased fuel costs.
“The people responsible for creating the budget for these vehicles for the upcoming year find it nearly impossible to accurately forecast how much they’ll spend on fuel. And then, when the costs exceed the amount budgeted,” said Bismarck Fleet Manager Kurt Ohnell. “We make cuts in our operating budget. We may not go purchase something. We may shift monies from others inside our budget to mitigate for this.”
The city is not the only one feeling the pinch from the higher fuel prices. At Bis-Man Transit, they’re also feeling it.
The folks who run the buses in Bismarck and Mandan and each morning when they take their big buses to the gas pump, they’re spending between $220 and $240.
Last fall when she was preparing for this year’s budget, Deidre Hughes forecast that fuel would be $3.20, which as we all know now, was not enough.
“I’m anticipating the amount I have in the budget will run out early to mid-fall, but we do have some cash reserves and I’m looking for other grants right now to see if anything can help cover the costs,” said Bis-Man Transit Executive Director Deidre Hughes.
The situation for these public entities is a lot like it is for everyone’s household budgets. You make it work.
“Realistically, there’s not much we can do; our hands are tied. We’re here to provide the service and we can’t just shut down that service because fuel keeps going up,” said Hughes.