The outgoing chair of Strait Area Transit says ridership is expected to increase by roughly 23,000 users in the fiscal year compared to four years earlier.
Jim Mustard says growing pains come with that success, but they’re expected to almost have 30,000 riders in 2018-19.
Transit officials held their annual general meeting Thursday.
Mustard tells The Hawk they worked on an organizational review with a consultant, including staffing structure and details for an employee benefit package.
“As an organization, you have to hire more staff, you have to replace your vehicles, and you have to look at expanding and taking in new areas,” he says. “Lots of growth (is a) good thing, (but) with that growth, as an organization, you’re always having to strengthen what the organization does, and how it does it.”
Mustard says it’s nice to have officials from three municipal units working together toward shared success.
He says they hope that growth continues.
“I think the staff are excited about the potential to expand to some other regions, and to keep growing the service in terms of the amount of people we can take,” he says. “Sometimes the buses are actually getting full.”
Mustard says they’ll put their first new bus on the road in the fall.
He says they’ve had new vans, but a new bus and van will cost in the expected range of $157,000-$167,000.
Mustard says he stepped down as chair at the meeting; John Dowling, a fellow Inverness Co. councillor, is taking on the role.