Update 7/24/2017 – The bus started its route today.
A new transportation system may become a reality in the community very soon. The plan calls for a 120-day pilot project to begin sometime in late July to early August of this year. The Forest County Potawatomi Community (FCPC) Transit system comes about as a result of a recent survey which showed that 63 percent of adult FCP tribal members polled in Forest County are in favor of having a public transit system.
The vision of the project is: To increase mobility and access to services, social gatherings, employment, and entertainment thus improving the economic, environmental and overall health of the community.
With this in mind, FCPC purchased a 27-passenger bus from Hometown Trolley in Crandon, Wis. This new transportation option will offer a fixed route that will run Monday through Wednesday on a designated time schedule between the hours of 5:50 a.m. and 6:40 p.m. in a continuous loop. The areas the route will cover are Crandon, Stone Lake, Laona, Blackwell, Carter and Wabeno. The hope is that tribal members, community members and FCP employees will benefit from having more convenient access to services, medical appointments, grocery shopping, work, and other community events.
During the remainder of the week (Thursday through Sunday), the transit will be used for scheduled events such as visits to Rhinelander or Antigo for shopping, or other prearranged outings.
The fees per day to ride the transit will be as follows:
- Ages 5 and under: free
- Ages 6 to 54: $1
- Ages 55 and older and handicapped: $.50
FCPC Transit is for anyone to ride, though there are restrictions and rules:
- Transportation will not be provided to any person who is considered under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs.
- No smoking, drinking of alcoholic beverages, littering, loitering or violence is allowed.
- Do not distract the driver. The driver is responsible for the safety of the bus and its passengers.
- Keep the aisles clear of personal belongings to prevent accidents.
- All passengers (whether adults or children) are to remain seated at all times when the bus is in operation. Passengers are not permitted to stand while the bus is moving.
- Animals are not allowed on the bus unless they are for the service of a person with a disability and are wearing a service-animal vest.
- Riders may bring small packages and groceries on the bus. Items must be able to fit on their lap or within the seat and not obstruct the aisle.
- Hazardous materials such as explosives, flammable liquids, firearms, or weapons are prohibited on transit vehicles.
- Enter the bus with exact fare. Drivers do not carry change.
This pilot trial will provide specific data and allow FCP to cater to what is most needed for the community, and there will be a couple of available ways for transit users to provide constructive feedback. After the trial period, it is hoped the project will lead to a permanent public transit system – one specifically tailored to the FCP community and surrounding areas. There will also be bus stops and shelters added as the project continues, which will serve to keep everyone safe from the elements and to identify the specific stops.