CASPER, Wyo. — The City of Casper is working to take over transit services for the Casper area from the Casper Area Transportation Coalition.
Casper Community Development Director Liz Becher told the city council on Tuesday that city staff is proposing a budget of around $3 million for the up-coming fiscal year.
She said that will be an increase from the $2.1-$2.2 million budget that has been allocated for transportation in recent years.
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Becher said that the city is looking to add to the fleet. They plan to purchase two paratransit vans and two full-size buses. The city also plans to add a bus shelter at the stop near the Wyoming Rescue Mission.
They will also look to add air filtration to the buses, purchase new radios and new dispatch software.
Becher said that the city will employ 32 people to operate the transit services, which is slightly down from the 35 who were employed at CATC. She said those positions have all been filled, with the city hiring 27 employees who previously worked for CATC.
The personnel include:
- 17 full time drivers
- 3 FT dispatchers
- 2 FT administrative assistance
- 2 FT supervisors
- 8 part time drivers
“They are all filled,” Becher said, adding that the employees who have come over from CATC have been “delightful people.”
Mayor Steve Freel said he appreciates that the city will add a shelter at the Wyoming Rescue Mission bus stop and that it should be a boon for riders in the winter.
Becher said that the city will use some remaining federal CARES Act dollars as well as a $487,000 federal American Rescue Plan Act grant to help fund the transit services.
City Manager Carter Napier asked Becher to clarify for the council whether the city will incur higher expenses by bringing transit services in house than they did while CATC was operating the transit services.
“Are we spending significantly more? No,” Becher said.
She said that capital projects the city is planning for the first year they will operate the services account for the increased budget. She noted that federal funding is allowing the fleet expansion efforts. Becher said that the dispatch technology is an expense that is additional that would not have been needed if CATC had continued to operate the services.
Becher said that there are some personnel costs that will flatten out over time as the city takes over operations.
Council member Kyle Gamroth asked whether riders on the dial-a-ride service will see their usual pick-ups occur as they had been scheduled under CATC.
Becher said that while there could be some small hiccups, the city is communicating with riders and will continue to provide services as people have come to expect.