After 10 years of talking and three years of steady planning, Sitka may have public buses up and running by spring or midsummer, planners said last month.
VISTA volunteer Mike Dickerson, who has been working on the project since January, said the hiring in October of program director Conchita Elsensohn will give him more time to write grants and follow up on recommendations made by the transit committee's consultant, LSC Transportation Consultants of Tahoe City, Calif.
LSC recommends year-round scheduled bus service to both ends of the road system, to Japonski Island and around downtown. The buses would run Monday through Saturday, with reduced service on Saturday. An extra downtown route would be scheduled for the summer, and people with special needs would be able to arrange a pickup.
"This is a very modest plan, a fiscally sound plan, it's marketable, it's do-able," said Gail Roust of the state Department of Transportation. "It makes a lot of sense for Sitka."
LSC Consultants estimates it will cost $176,000 to run the system for fiscal year 2002-03, offset by $55,700 in rider fees from 53,000 rides. An annual subsidy of $120,600 will be needed from private and public sources.