There is big news at Goose Creek Transit. We are approaching the two-year anniversary of our launch of the Sheridan Shuttle, our fare free, fixed route transit service.
We started in October of 2019 with 28 stops, and we have added another eight to our route since then. We have been collecting data on our stops and I feel comfortable now with improving our service with some transit infrastructure. Specifically, bus shelters, benches and signs. Since these are permanent improvements, it is important that we put them in the right places.
The process for placing a bus shelter is more complicated than one might think. It involves agreements with property owners, any city permits that may be required and doing locates for any buried utilities. And since this project will involve federal funds, competitive bidding will be required to select a contractor to pour concrete pads and assemble the shelters.
Last October, Goose Creek Transit was awarded a grant from the Federal Transit Administration specifically for the purchase and construction of several bus shelters at our busier stops. It is an 80/20 grant, which means that 20% of the cost is required local match.
Fortunately, some very supportive groups have taken care of providing the local match for us, which is great. It allows for the development department at The Hub on Smith to raise funds for the many other programs the organization provides and not to use it for bus shelters. In April, a group of Sheridan College students raised more than $6,000 with a pint night at Black Tooth Brewing Company and a silent auction. In my nearly 25 years of being in transit management, that has never happened to me before. What an amazing surprise. The students called me out of the blue and offered to organize the event, taking care of everything. The night was a success and started us well on our way to raising the needed matching funds.
On top of that, The Homer A. and Mildred S. Scott Foundation has offered to help with the design costs for the shelters and with the purchase of an additional shelter. Additionally, John and Pamela Standish have offered to chip in for the purchase of another bus shelter. My FTA grant was enough to place three shelters, but with the generous support we have received, we will have five or possibly six bus shelters around town at our busiest stops. We are now in the design and selection process.
One final word about the Sheridan Shuttle. Because we have been able to get several grants to help fund the service, we are able to provide it without a fare. Our route covers most of town, starting at The Hub on Smith the route then goes down to Brundage Lane on the south, then it makes it way up North Main as far as Malcolm Wallop Park. It then serves Fifth Street and the area near the hospital before returning to The Hub on Smith 55 minutes later.
So, give it a try.
For more information about stop locations and times, call the GCT office at 307-675-RIDE (7433).