Like some of its residents, the City of Humboldt is wrestling with a transit issue. It’s a theme common to many smaller cities. Those without their own auto transport have to rely on other measures for necessities such as groceries, trips to medical appointments, and a host of other short trips that many of us take for granted.
The City is making a move on the matter by seeking to hire consultants to explore options for its residents. At Monday night’s City Council meeting, Council approved a recommendation to proceed with securing the services of consultants after being approved in principle for federal funding of $50,000. The money will be used toward completing a transit services study for the City of Humboldt. A request for proposal (RFP) has been issued to identify and contract suitable consulting services, says Lori Yaworski, director of corporate affairs and city clerk.
“The fundamental goal is to answer the question, ‘what is the optimal public transportation solution or model for the city of Humboldt and its residents, and what are the costs of the service and who should be paying for that service?’ ”
The proposed study will also examine solutions for intra-community travel, but the main focus will be within Humboldt’s boundaries. Humboldt is currently without private operators to provide services, and that’s created a level of frustration, says Yaworski.
“The taxi service wasn’t feasible; they couldn’t make a go of it, yet there’s a need. I don’t think anyone has determined a solution to that problem. We’ve extended the use of the mod van, but we haven’t seen a huge uptake. There have been people using it, but not to the extent that it’s been fully utilized.”
The consultation will gather information from stakeholders including citizens, service groups, private businesses, medical providers and others to help determine an outcome. While the City has no interest in cutting off a private enterprise who would engage in service provision, it also will look to other communities for guidance as to what level of services they provide, who owns the vehicle, and other logistical questions.
Responses to the request for proposal are due at the end of August, says Yaworski. After that a decision is expected to be made by September 9. Once the contract is awarded, the hope is to have information from consultations to Council by the end of 2022 or the first part of 2023.
In the meantime, the City remains open to the development of a private service provider who may step in with a plan to better the situation in the short term or the long term.