Prairie 5 Rides is ending weekend service March 1

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Prairie 5 Rides will stop providing weekend bus service in the City of Benson as of March 1.

Benson’s City Council agreed Monday night to end the service after being presented with the costs and records that show very low ridership on Saturday and Sunday by Prairie 5 Rides Manager Ted Nelson.

On weekends, the bus services operates from 8 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Saturdays while Sunday service is from 7:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. for 9.5 hours per weekend.

At the rate of $50 an hour the cost is $475 per weekend to provide the bus service, Nelson told the council.

Prairie 5 Rides took over the city-owned Heartland Bus Service in the first week in August and since then has provided rides on 23 weekends. During the time, it has provided 112 rides on Saturdays and 126 rides on Sundays for a total of 238 rides.

At a cost of $475 per weekend over the past 23 weeks, the total cost of providing those weekend rides has been $10,925, or $45.90 per ride.

The Minnesota Department of Transportation, which oversees regional bus service operations funded by state dollars, has basically said it wants to see an average of three rides per hour, Nelson told the council. To meet that requirement, Benson’s Prairie 5 Rides bus service would have to be giving 28.5 rides per weekend. Averaging 10.5 rides a weekend, it is far below that threshold....


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