“Because we don’t currently have taxi service and we don’t have a public transit system, we think there’s a demand,” Day said. “We hear from individuals and sometimes a few of the organizations that they feel there is a need for more than there is.”
One such agency is the Humboldt District Hospital Foundation, which recently launched a program that uses the city’s mobility van to bring select patients to medical appointments. Executive Director Lorrie Bunko said the program was launched when Community Mental Health and Addictions noticed people were missing appointments.
“So other than no taxi service, there are just a few people who don’t have the financial resources or very few or no people to contact to be able to pick them up,” Bunko said.
Day said the city hired Dillon Consulting to do the study. Dillon is a national consulting firm.
“We’re looking to find out what the community needs for transportation services and see if the city has a role to play in filling that gap,” Day said.
In November, Dillon will host a series of meetings with various stakeholders. Day said the board hopes to have the final report by February next year.
Day said the cost of full transit service is probably too high. But there are other options, like the city’s mobility van program.
“One of the leading options could be where it’s both a mobility van type service and a telecommute or call for a ride type service,” did he declare. “A kind of hybrid between a public transport service and a taxi service.”
“Our mobility van is a good size, full-size van that can probably accommodate six to eight people in wheelchairs, and we don’t fill that van up that often,” Day added.
Added day over the past few years, Humboldt has spoken to several ride-sharing companies like Uber, but so far nothing has come of it.
“We spoke to a couple of different companies that provide these ride-sharing services,” he said, adding that “Humboldt, being his size, creates some difficulties or concerns for them.”
He said the board will review the report when it receives it in February and make a decision on options to explore further.