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AARP ND celebrates transit investments from Bismarck and Mandan

Senior couple outside shuttle bus

In July 2023, the Bismarck City Commission voted to support Bis-Man Transit’s paratransit service by providing $250,000 to the program in both 2023 and 2024. In October, the Mandan City Commission followed suit with $44,835 in funding for 2023. The funding by the cities ensures riders with disabilities and those over 70 years old have this safe, affordable transportation option to move around the community to attend medical appointments, shop for groceries, goods and services and socialize with family and friends.

AARP North Dakota supported this decision, with volunteers sending emails and providing testimony and outreach to commissioners.

BisMan Paratransit has been in operation since 1987 and has been funded by an allocation of 1.5 mils annually. The funding will help continue service to folks outside the normal Paratransit operations (called Non-ADA service). Non-ADA service is a service offered in addition to the federally funded Americans with Disabilities Paratransit transportation also offered by Bis-Man Transit and is critical for seniors who no longer drive according to AARP State Volunteer President Nancy Guy.

“Affordable transportation is critical for seniors who no longer drive. Not only do they rely on those services to get to work and medical appointments, they also need to move around the community to shop for food, goods and services and socialize with family and friends. Loss of these services would increase isolation for many and make running day to day errands very difficult. Imagine what your life would be like if you were totally dependent on others for your transportation, economic constraints restricted your ability to pay for taxis or rideshare trips, and you lived in a community where there were no taxis and only rideshare trips available,” Guy wrote in an email to Bismarck city commissioners.

Neither community has licensed taxi companies, and rideshare services are dependent on operators, making paratransit the only dependable transportation option for older citizens.

“AARP ND works to make communities more livable for every age. Public transportation is an important contributor to the economic, physical and mental health of our members regarding getting them to work, appointments and social opportunities,” Josh Askvig, AARP ND State Director.

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