Western Nebraska Observer - Observations all along the line - Kimball & the Southern Panhandle First

Kimball Transit system administration award winning

 

The Kimball County Transit Service received two awards at the annual Nebraska Association of Transit Providers Managers Conference. Christy Warner, Transit Administrator received the "Rookie Manager of the Year Award" from the Nebraska Department of Transportation. Warner was nominated by Kimball County Commissioner Daria Anderson-Faden.

The second award was given by the Federal Transit Administration, Region VII, that includes Missouri, Iowa, Nebraska and Kansas.

"The "Award of Excellence" was given for being one of the top three transit systems having the highest ridership among rural public transit systems operating in Nebraska with three vehicles" Warner added.

According to Warner, last year the Kimball County Transit won the FTA "Award of Excellence" as well for the highest ridership with only one vehicle.

What an honor to receive these awards and be recognized at such high levels. Warner knows how important these awards are to transit systems and their riders.

"As a small rural community in the panhandle, it's an honor to be recognized at the state and federal levels. It shows the commitment of everyone involved from the riders who call us every day for services, to the drivers, staff, and commissioners who make those rides happen.

"To be able to win the FTA award for the highest ridership two years in a row with the increase in vehicles says something. The work the drivers and staff did before me to build a strong foundation of ridership and community allowed us to push it to the next level.

Throughout the year the Kimball County Transit had multiple goals, even though none were to win any awards. Christy says it is setting the bar for the local transit system to perform.

"As changes are being made, these awards tell me the transit system is headed in the right direction.

Some existing and new changes throughout the community and the panhandle will be coming shortly. "I believe in not just supporting our community, but making our community thrive. One of the ways for highly rural communities to do that is to work together with neighbors. With that in mind, we are continuing to reach out to build partnerships with our neighboring counties and the local business/services."

The Kimball County Transit has just recently extended their hours, with the additional drivers, there is the ability to run the bus longer.

"It seems more practical to have the bus run early enough and late enough that a person can get to and from work," she added.

As addressed during a past County Commissioners meeting, the addition of more visual marketing of the transit and the ability to draw in new customers is in the works.

"We are increasing our visual marketing to get the word out to the public. We want them to know this is public transportation and anyone can ride. Part of this marketing includes our current bus and the future mini-vans having vehicle wraps." According to Warner these are the most inportant pieces of marketing that can be done here in the rural areas.

"Most of the marketing is word of mouth. The youth don't tend to read the newspapers and the older generation doesn't rend to be on the internet or social media. However, the majority of all the generations drive or rider and see a bright, visually appearing buss pass by. Even a home bound individual might notice the bus passing by if it is eye catching.

"At the end of the day, the goal is to make public transportation in the panhandle a strong part of the community. Not only to help build the community but to help the community thrive. We want to have people thing of us when they are organizing a community function, when the kids need to go somewhere but the parent must work, when they don't want to drive in the snow and cold or when they can't drive for the day because their vehicle is in the shop. We want to be that transportation option a person can choose to enable the to stay in their home instead of moving out of town to get services."

Check out Kimball County Transit Service. It's your other ride!

 

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