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SPOT Bus Ridership Down

by ROSE SHABABY
Staff Writer | February 4, 2021 1:00 AM

SPOT Bus ridership was down for 2020. While that's not unexpected with the COVID-19 outbreak, what was surprising was the high percentage: ridership declined by 44 percent.

Fortunately the decrease won’t affect services, said David Sims, SPOT Bus Executive Director. He also expects ridership to rebound in the spring and summer.

The SPOT (Selkirks Pend Oreille Transit) Bus has been offering rides to Bonners Ferry residents since 2015. Four days a week they pick up riders at their home and take them anywhere they need to go within the Bonners Ferry area (Wednesday and Friday), and to Sandpoint and back on Tuesday and Thursday.

The bus route goes all the way to Moyie Springs, the 3 Mile area and parts of Paradise Valley that are close to town.

There is no cost for the bus, no age requirement and their only stipulation is that you call them 24 hours in advance to schedule rides.

Sims said that while there’s no age requirement, anywhere from 70-90% of their riders are seniors. It’s an important service since so many seniors find themselves unable to drive at some point and become more and more homebound as a result.

Funding for the SPOT Bus comes from federal grants administered through the Idaho Department of Transportation and must be matched by local funds which come from the city of Bonners Ferry, Boundary County and the Area Association of Aging.

They have also received funding through the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act. It has helped offset costs due to COVID-19 like masks, cleaning supplies, etc. It has also helped pay for lost driver hours due to diminished need. This funding doesn’t require local matching dollars like regular grant moneys and has reduced the local matching dollars needed by 10%.

If you would like to schedule a ride with SPOT or for more information about their routes, please call 208-267-4740.