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Session held to discuss KAT's plans for future

WILLMAR -- Ideas for making the Kandiyohi Area Transit system bigger and better were laid on the table Tuesday during a planning session by the operations committee.

"It was a very good session," said Transit Director John Groothuis. "We have some direction now."

Some of the ideas that were discussed include purchasing dispatch software to make operations more efficient, buying a van to offset rides that are "more time-consuming," constructing a downtown bus stop near Selvig Park and making changes in same-day pickup rides to help keep bus routes on schedule.

The committee will spend the year researching and fine-tuning those ideas, said Groothuis.

The committee is already studying the possibility of offering limited service on Sunday for people going to church in Willmar. Groothuis will be contacting the Willmar Ministerial Association to see if there is a need for that kind of service. Groothuis has expressed concern in the past about making the service cost effective for KAT.

KAT's Saturday ridership service in Willmar is "very strong compared to last year" and the overall ridership of the system is "stronger than last year" for the first quarter of 2006.

The committee will also be holding a transit bus "rodeo" in August to test the skills of bus drivers in an obstacle course. Groothuis will be contacting other area transit systems to see if they'd like to participate in the event.

Carolyn Lange

A reporter for more than 30 years, Carolyn Lange covers regional news with the West Central Tribune.

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