Casper Transit to Add Shelters, Experiment with New Vehicles & Investigate Electric
Scott Dresher, transit manager for the Link & Assist, and Liz Becher, the Community Development director stopped by the Townsquare Media building to chat about all things public transportation.
"I try to be civic minded, and one of the things I want to try and do is better the community, and one of the ways we can do that is by maximizing what transit can do to help not only the less fortunate but also the city itself, our economy, everything about it" said Dresher.
Right now there are 22 vehicles and 30 staff members that work for the two distinct bus routes around town--the Link and Assist.
Becher said they are currently looking to expand their inventories of shelters moving forward. They installed a couple new shelters last year, and this year plan to add five more.
"We have recognized that with a lot more patronage of public transportation and our weather--and we can say that nationwide with our weather--that being able to try to protect our passengers while they wait is something that we need to plan for."
There are already plans to add five new shelters in 2023.
The Rotary Club has sponsored two, said Becher, which will be located at 12th and Melrose near Big Lots and the Dollar Store and one on Poplar Street across from Sunrise shopping center.
The City is adding one by Missouri Street at the Wyoming Behavioral Institute with some financial support from them.
They are also adding one at the VA clinic on 2nd street, and a fifth will be added at the Wyoming Rescue Mission.
The shelters cost about $10,000 each.
Some of the stops already have a concrete pad and benches, and they're hoping to get more benches put up, too.
"That has been something council committed to doing a year ago" said Becher.
Last year they updated some route signs for red, yellow and purple routes, they went with larger fonts and new branding that is "much more legible" to help people understand the routes better.
They'll finish doing all the routes this spring.
Dresher said they implemented a new dispatch software system in September that makes it easier to edit announcements on the fly; for example, if a bus gets a flat tire and they need to make changes they can do that a lot quicker.
The system makes it much more efficient to change routes or switch buses to meet peoples needs.
Looking at the year ahead, four new fleet vehicles are scheduled to arrive in 2023. They are trying new styles with two bigger and two smaller buses coming.
Also, they've been asked to investigate what it would take to see if electric fleets work in our region.
"That is not to say that the city of Casper is going to suddeny be going to an all electric fleet by any means, but we have been asked to investigate it" said Becher.
"The FTA that funds us has said, We want you to look into what it would take if we wanted to try to phase this in over a number of years. Would electric fleets work in Casper Wyoming? Would the elevations, temperature changes, would that be practical?"
That study is kicking off in 2023. No guarantee that they will recommend it as a city.
There are many considerations that this study examine.
"All we're doing is looking into it" Becher said.