TRUE Transit bus

TRUE Transit started full operation in the first week of January. (Courtesy of TRUE Transit)

A public transportation system for Blue Earth, Nicollet, and Le Sueur counties, TRUE Transit, was named Transit System of the Year at the Minnesota Public Transportation Conference in Duluth by the Minnesota Public Transit Association.

TRUE Transit was nominated for the award after being the only rural public transportation system to increase its ridership during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“When COVID started to shut many things down, our ridership took a dip,” Transportation Manager, Ron Decker said. “But then after a few months, we began to get those riders back and then some.”

In September, the organization reported its busiest month yet, providing 1,166 rides, a 40% increase from 2020 and an 89% increase from 2019. TRUE Transit began in 2017 with just one bus providing approximately 100 rides a month. Now there are five buses providing nearly 1,000 rides a month.

Decker attributes the organization’s success to the hard work of the staff and offering more flexibility in scheduling when the organization switched from routes to dial-a-ride service in 2019, allowing the passenger to choose their pickup time and location. TRUE Transit operates within Blue Earth, Nicollet, and Le Sueur counties, Monday–Friday between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. Reservations are required. Currently, rides are fare free due to COVID. To keep everyone safe, masks are required on the bus, along with increased sanitation and social distancing.

Those interested in learning more about TRUE Transit, can visit their website truetransit.org or call 507-388-8783.

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