Region 3 – Regional Transit Authority/RIDES
RIDES is the regional transit authority (RTA) serving Buena Vista, Clay, Dickinson, Emmet, Lyon, O’Brien, Osceola, Palo Alto, and Sioux counties. The RTA has been in operation since 1976.
RIDES utilizes a total of 91 vehicles to provide its public transportation services. Twenty-three of these vehicles will be replaced using American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) of 2009 funds. Delivery of the vehicles is expected to begin in mid-February. ARRA funds will also be used to pave the Spencer facility’s vehicle storage lot, and install electric service and security lights in the lot.
Hugh Lively, executive director of RIDES, said, “Region 3 is looking forward to acquiring our new vehicles through the ARRA process. We will be receiving several minivans and light-duty buses. This will enable us to lower our maintenance costs by replacing the older vehicles that have been used well beyond their life expectancies. We are replacing some vehicles that are in excess of 200,000 miles. These are light-duty buses that are normally replaced at the 100,000-mile threshold. The ARRA funds will help us improve services by redirecting resources currently consumed by high maintenance costs toward providing other transit opportunities.”
The before photos shown on this site are illustrative of the high-mileage vehicles and aging fleet awaiting replacement.
Vehicle 3744: This is an old school bus that RIDES has used for various shuttle services. Shuttle services provided included RAGBRAI and Buena Vista University. The mileage on this vehicle is 180,369. Its body is rusting out (notice holes in stairwell from rust) and it consumes a lot of 60-weight engine oil. This vehicle is being replaced with a 28-foot, medium-duty bus at an estimated cost of $137,000.
Vehicle 9604: This vehicle is used for providing demand-response service. It is a 1995 Ford Windstar with 125,699 miles. The body is rusting out, it has a leaking head gasket and the sliding door is worn out. This vehicle is being replaced with a new minivan at an estimated cost of $42,000.
Vehicle 8804: This is a 1995 raised-roof van. It was used at a group home for five years, and most recently for medi-van transportation for dialysis patients. The rusted areas on the vehicle have undergone spot painting and body repair work.
Since acquiring new vehicles with the use of ARRA funds, RIDES has been hearing positive feedback from both the general public and the drivers. One passenger stated "It is a very comfortable, quieter ride." Another passerby commented that the buses look "sharp." RIDES took the opportunity to use the new buses to get a new look, too. The buses have a new color scheme, and a cleaner, more streamlined look to them. The buses are being used in all areas of Region 3, with the majority being used in demand response service. New mini vans were also acquired through the use of ARRA funds, and are also being used primarily for demand response service.