DART Commission Meeting

Approved Minutes

Municipal Service Center

April 13, 2010



Present:  Char Williams, Donna Swain, Mary LaForet, David Carlson


Staff Present:  Karen Murphy, Jan Yuergens


Char Williams called the meeting to order at 1:00 pm


Meeting Minutes from the July 2009 meeting were approved.


Member Update

City Council reappointed Dave Carlson for a 3-year term as the DART Commission’s senior member.


Budget Update

Murphy advised the commission that budget concessions for the 2010/2011 City budget were not requested of DART in light of the reduced service implemented in the 2009/2010 budget.


MDOT Update

Yuergens reviewed the 2011 Accessibility plan.  Hours of service and service area had not changed.  However, 2 medium duty busses (1 with a lift and 1 without a lift) were replaced by 2 light duty busses with lifts to better address the needs of our community.   The entire fleet is now equipped with lifts.  The accessibility plan was unanimously approved by the commission.


MDOT has increased the minimum requirement for light duty bus replacement from 5 years or 150,000 miles to 7 years or 200,000.  This does not imply that busses are replaced at those minimum requirements but replacement can be requested once minimum requirements are met.   State and Federal grant approvals actually determine when a bus is replaced.


The use of hybrid vehicles was addressed by Murphy.  At this time the City’s vehicle maintenance supervisors feel that the unknown expenses associated with maintenance and reliability may outweigh the benefit.  At this time we are waiting for other transit agencies to help determine these factors. 


ARRA Funding

The City of Midland received two ARRA grants.  One grant was for $48,000 which was designated to be used toward operational expenses to maintain current jobs.  The other grant was in the amount of $90,000 and will be used to purchase software and hardware to implement mobile data terminals on the busses.  Currently we are communicating to 11 drivers every 30 minutes over a single radio channel.  This is increasingly difficult due to the amount of information that needs to be transmitted over the radio.  The drivers wait their turn for the radio to clear to request their pickups for the next half hour.  The driver writes down the information by hand and confirms each location with the dispatcher.  This process is time consuming and inefficient.  The mobile data terminals will provide more accurate data for the drivers, in a more timely fashion.  In addition, we feel that mobile data terminals will protect the privacy of our riders as their destinations are not being shared over the radio.  We are only in the beginning stages for this project and will keep the commission updated as progress continues.


Bike Racks on Busses

Mary Laforet read an email from John Kerr Anderson.  The email suggested that the purchase of bike racks would benefit the Midland community.  Yuergens explained that she had talked with Mr. Anderson by phone and provided him with additional information on how our Dial-A-Ride service worked differently than fixed route services in Bay City and Saginaw. 

  • Fixed route service drops you close to your destination; curb-to-curb service takes you to your destination.
  • Current ridership is 70% seniors and persons with disabilities.
  • The City of Midland offers bike routes in our community.
  • If a person rode their bike to work and then needed transportation at the end of the day due to inclement weather chances are bus service would be booked for a return ride home.
  • Who would be responsible to load the bikes on the busses?
  • Who would be liable if the bike was not loaded properly and caused an accident?
  • We would need to purchase bike racks for all 14 busses.  The cost of this would most likely outweigh the actual use of the racks.  Cost per rack $1,000 – 1,200 per bus.

Mr. Anderson wasn’t aware of the differences between the services and agreed that he was no longer convinced that the bike racks would be used in our City.


Facility Tour

A tour of the Municipal Service Center was given to the commission members, including the DART Dispatch room and DART Driver work area.


Meeting was adjourned at 1:45 pm.




Jan Yuergens


Jan Yuergens

Assistant Director of Public Services



MDOT Required Signature





Charlotte Williams

Chair, DART Commission