For residents needing a ride, Marshfield Public Transit has provided an important service.
A shared-ride taxi service, public transportation has been operated by Running Inc. since January 1, 2014, when it won the contract from the City. The company has twenty years experience as a shared ride service and operates twenty other transit companies in Wisconsin.
“The clear benefit is that the City of Marshfield has at least one option to help residents travel the community,” said Chris Meyer, mayor. “If we didn’t have this service, it would be very difficult for our residents without transportation to move about the community.”
There are however, significant differences between a shared-ride taxi and a private taxi.
“Most people don’t understand that difference between a taxi service and a shared ride service,” said Meyer. “With a taxi, you own that cab for the duration of your ride. The driver picks you up at point A and delivers you to point B. With a shared ride, you may share a ride with someone else. This means that you may be picked up at Point A, but may make stops to pick up or drop off other riders at points C and D before you get to your point B.”
The service is bid out every five years. The negotiated contract is approved by WisDot, which provides all of the funding via federal grants and makes the service affordable for both the City and customers. In 2018, bids for the service will begin again for a 5-year contract.
“In addition to the grant covering operational costs and subsidizing the ride cost (actual ride cost would be around $12-15), we do get a majority of our vehicle costs covered,” said Meyer. Vehicles are city-owned.
While the City isn’t required by law to provide any transportation service, Meyer noted that there is clearly a need for it in Marshfield. Demand has caused the use of the service to skyrocket since 2013, causing long wait times.
“At the time Running Inc. took over, we had an annual ridership of around 75,000 rides per year. Today, it is nearly 110,000 per year,” said Meyer. “Because this is a grant-funded service with a contract, it is not easy to expand service hours to meet increasing demand.” Expansion would require the City to re-bid the entire service.
To help the wait time issue, additional funding is being requested from DOT, and an additional grant allocation was secured for 2018 that will allow an additional 40 hours of driver time per week. The grant does not eliminate the wait time challenges, but it’s a start.
From the City of Marshfield Website:
Phone number: 715-384-6550 (Please mention if a wheelchair accessible van is needed)
Sunday through Thursday 6:00 a.m. – 12:00 a.m.
Friday & Saturday 6:00 a.m. – 3:00 a.m.
Adult – $5.00
Student – $5.00
Senior – $2.85
Disabled – $2.85
Please let the drivers know if you are disabled or over age 60 in order to receive the discounted rate.
Punch cards are available from drivers: $25.00 (5 rides) for Adults and $28.50 (10 rides) for Seniors and the Disabled.