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Bus Service Ridership In Northwoods 'Exploding'

Northwoods Transit Connections

The Oneida County Board Tuesday heard the expanded bus service operating in the Northwoods is very popular and has grown quickly since being introduced last May.

The county board approved a $50,000 advance to the Oneida-Vilas Transit Commission to cover a short-term cash flow crunch, as explained by Supervisor Bob Mott...

"....as typical with state and federal government, sometimes monies don't come in on time. At certain times during the year were running a shortage of money for operating expenses to pay for drivers, gas, those types of things...."

But the bus service linking Northwoods communities and within the communities themselves is 'exploding', says Mott...

"....we began offering rides in May for all citizens. In Rhinelander, it went from 588 in April, to 2,068 rides in December. There obviouslyt was pent-up demand for rural transportation and that's what the Oneida-Vilas Transit Commission is providing right now...."

Transit Manager Jim Altenburg says the use has shot up....

"...our ridership has gone through the roof and I anticipate it to increase another 10-15 percent(in Rhinelander) and then in Eagle River and Minocqua probably about another 35 percent by year end. We'll be hitting a plateau of almost 40,000 rides by year end..."

A similar request for an advance went to the Vilas County Finance committee and will likely be on their county board floor next Tuesday.

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