Snake River Transit held a ribbon-cutting ceremony for its newest vehicle at Farmer’s Mutual Telephone Company in Fruitland on Sept. 12. The bus will replace the older of Snake River Transit’s two existing buses.
Dan Greig of Farmer’s Mutual says his company sponsors the ad on the bus to both give back to the community and drum up new business at the same time.
“It’s on the road twelve hours a day, so we figured that with our advertising going all around the valley here we’d have a good chance to show it off to more customers,” said Greig.
Terri Lindenberg, executive director of Treasure Valley Transit, is honored to have the opportunity to work with Farmer’s Mutual in purchasing the new bus.
“We’ve waited several years to get it,” said Lindenberg. “We’re very pleased to have it on route and even more pleased with Farmer’s Mutual Telephone Company who’s advertising on the bus, which is a significant contribution for our local match, for the grants that allow us to provide the service.”
The newest bus in the fleet was locally funded through the cities of Fruitland and Payette, along with Payette County, which each pitched in about $8,500, according to Lindenberg. The remainder of the approximately $120,000 vehicle was funded through grants from the Idaho Transportation Department, she said.
The bus is a Ford model. Its features include handicap accessibility for up to seven wheelchairs, a bike rack for two bicycles and a smooth ride, according to Lindenberg.
“We’re also a part of the county and the city’s emergency preparedness evacuation planning process,” according to Lindenberg. “For example, if an assisted living facility needed to be evacuated we can be called upon and the buses [are configured] to do seven wheelchairs at one time.”
Brian Howell, Mayor of Fruitland is proud to have this bus as a part of his community.
“It’s a big deal,” said Howell. “I mean, it’s something that the city supports and we’re happy to see Farmer’s getting involved with it because I think it’s good for them. We support Farmer’s, all of our internet and everything goes through Farmer’s because they’re local and we try to keep business here.”
Matt Frye of the Fruitland Chamber of Commerce cites the new bus as a driving force for the local economy.
“It gives opportunity for businesses to get more patrons they may not have had access to,” said Frye. “It gives patrons a way to access those businesses and just helps grow the community.”
Lindenberg also expressed gratitude to Payette County and the cities of Fruitland and Payette for their cooperation.
Snake River Transit’s route has 19 stops serving Fruitland, Payette and Ontario, including stops at Ontario Walmart and Treasure Valley College. The route runs hourly on weekdays from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m., providing 20,000 passenger trips annually.
Contingent on testing and final preparations, the bus joined the fleet effective Sept. 16.