After more than five years of planning and finding ways to secure funding for the project, Tri-CAP broke ground for its new transit facility, at 13056 Haven Road in Little Falls, Sept. 30.
“It has been a work in progress for the last five years, so I am very excited to see it come to fruition,” said Executive Director Lori Schultz.
Tri-CAP is a 503(c)(3) non-profit community action agency . While its federally designated counties are Stearns, Benton and Sherburne, Tri-CAP provides public transportation and energy assistance in Morrison County.
“We serve about 17,000 households a year with a variety of services, whether it is weatherization, public transportation or self-sufficiency counseling, but again, our focus in Morrison County is public transportation and energy assistance,” she said.
One thing Schultz wants the community to know is the public transportation service is available to anyone in Morrison County, regardless of their income.
“Sometimes I think the general public thinks you have to meet eligibility. It is for everyone. Our city service fee is $1.25 per ride,” she said.
What makes Tri-CAP unique in comparison to the metro area where riders go to a bus stop, catch the bus, which then brings them to another bus stop, Tri-CAP provides curb-to-curb service.
“Ours is curb-to-curb service, meaning we pick you up where you are and we drop you off where you need to be,” Schultz said.
A variety of riders, both young and old, use the public transit system in Morrison County, whether it is children needing a ride to and from school, a senior going to medical appointment or someone simply going to a local grocery store.
“It is for everyone,” Schultz said.
At this time, Tri-CAP has four buses in service. With the new building, they will be able to park six buses and as the demand for public transportation in Morrison County increases, the more buses and routes they can add.
The bus service is available Monday through Friday, from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. Tri-CAP also used to offer a bus service on Saturdays from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., which has been temporarily been suspended due to COVID-19.
“Our goal would be to be to eventually be back in service on Saturdays,” Schultz.
In addition to more parking space for buses, the new transit facility will include offices and a small conference room.
The project is primarily sponsored by the Minnesota Department of Transportation as well as by local support. The goal is to have it completed by summer 2021.
For more information or to request a ride, dial 1 (888) 765-5597 or (320) 251-1612.