Chippewa Falls sees record taxi ridership, government increases funding

By: Joe Nelson Email
By: Joe Nelson Email

CHIPPEWA FALLS, WI (WEAU) - Taxis are busier than ever in Chippewa Falls and the city is getting more government funding to keep the wheels rolling, according to the city transit network.

The city expects 67,500 riders to take the Shared Ride program this year, beating out last year's record of 67,261.

"When it's hot out, folks want to use the program, so they don't have to walk in the heat. When it's cold out, that makes sense as well," city transit program assistant Cynthia Schmidt said.

The majority of riders are seniors, people with disabilities and students, she said.

The program, started in 1985, brings anyone within city limits to where ever they need to go in taxi vans for less than $3, but with record ridership and rising gas and insurance costs, staff was concerned on how much funding the federal government would provide.

"Expecting bad news, and it was good news and that trickles down to less local funding necessary," Schmidt said.

The government just announced an increase in federal funding this year, so the program is using about four percent less from city coffers, that will now go to other programs.

"The biggest benefit is Share Ride has the ability to get people that are disabled to live their lives freely," rider Barry Mlsna said.

"It's hard for me to walk any length of time especially in the heat. I love to walk but share ride saves a lot for me," rider Jane Loiselle said.

"I hope they continue and I hope (the government does) realize how important it is," Joane Knoble said.

The program is funded through state and federal grants, local taxes and fares, Schmidt said.

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  • by GLS Location: EC on Jun 28, 2012 at 06:21 AM
    Maybe EC should look at this program. Our buses usually run with just a few riders on them anyway. Just a guess, but maybe people don't ride the bus because it takes too long to get from point A to point B? I spoke with a north side person who took the bus from Eddy Lane area to the Mall and it took over an hour to get to the mall! The vans are direct route to locations. We can get ride of bus stops and the city bus change over site downtown. That has to save money some money. Those vans cost much less than a bus and the city may even save on the costs of drivers.
  • by C Location: Eau Claire on Jun 28, 2012 at 05:29 AM
    well gar how are these people gonna get out to spend money unless they have a ride? what is the last time you drove your elderly neighbors and relatives around to do their shopping and errands? it might make sense to fund this. it seems like a good program
  • by gar on Jun 27, 2012 at 04:41 PM
    And why is there government funding for this? We're broke remember! Oh maybe this type stuff is why were broke.
    • reply
      by Minnetonka, MN on Jun 28, 2012 at 04:31 AM in reply to gar
      Yeah, 'cause those darn elderly and sick should either have to walk or stay home.
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