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MIDAS to resume limited transit services

-Messenger photo by Chad Thompson
A Dodger Area Rapid Transit bus is parked along South Sixth Street in downtown Fort Dodge Tuesday. DART and Regional Transit Authority will resume limited transit services on Thursday.

MIDAS Council of Governments announced on Tuesday that it will resume limited transit services for its two transit systems.

The Dodger Area Rapid Transit (DART) transit system and the Regional Transit Authority (RTA), which serves the six-county region of Pocahontas, Humboldt, Wright, Hamilton, Webster and Calhoun counties, will resume Thursday.

Services were first reduced March 18 amid concerns of the spread of COVID-19. On April 1, all transit services for Fort Dodge and the regional system were temporarily suspended.

Shelly Mahan, public information coordinator, said it has been a challenge in recent weeks to secure personal protective equipment.

But she said the necessary PPE is now in place.

“We needed to find the PPE gear to give everyone some confidence in the safety measures we have been taking,” Mahan said.

On Thursday, paratransit services will begin and the Prestage Foods of Iowa work shuttle will start back up.

Single person bus rides will be offered to community members. Paratransit and single person rides will cost $3 one way.

If interested, Mahan said to contact the dispatch office at 515-573-8145 to schedule a ride. Seats will be scheduled on a first come, first served basis.

“We are going to start back up with single bus rides and see how that goes,” Mahan said. “There are so many people who are afraid and they are in the high-risk category. We want to build their confidence.”

Grocery pick-up for individuals aged 60 or older is also being offered.

Individuals desiring grocery pick-up should first contact Hy-Vee to order and pay for groceries over the phone or online.

Next, contact the dispatch office to schedule pick-up and delivery. Deliveries will be made Mondays, Wednesdays or Fridays from 8 a.m. to noon.

Dispatch must be contacted one day in advance of the day of delivery. Groceries will be delivered to the doorstep only.

RTA services will resume as follows: effective Thursday, MIDAS will operate one demand response bus per county.

If interested, please contact the dispatch office to schedule a ride. Seats will be scheduled on a first come, first served basis.

Effective May 26, the Rockwell City/Manson to Fort Dodge service will resume.

Both drivers and riders will be required to wear a mask or other face covering. Hand sanitizer stations in each bus are being installed. Seating will be limited to ensure social distancing, Mahan said.

“We are going to find out how our passengers are feeling about it now,” Mahan said. “We have more of the PPE gear. We are installing the hand sanitizers. People want to get back to their normal and we have some things in place now to try and make that happen.”

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