Since April 3, Go Transit has offered Oshkosh and Neenah residents a micro-transit service called "Go Connect."
The service is similar to rideshare transits or cab services, except this one is government-funded and has a fixed rate of $5 per one-way trip.
Riders of the bus system may recognize the route from their days riding Route 10. But that bus route was removed after ridership numbers dwindled post-pandemic.
Go Transit's transit operations manager Steve Tomasik said what was once a bus route carrying 30-40 daily passengers turned into a commute that would average around 14 riders — and often the bus would be empty.
“The old run basically wasn't working. So, Route 10 became very expensive. There was not a lot of ridership on it, and we had a lot of empty bus miles to and from on a fixed route schedule," Tomasik said.
That's when the micro-transit solution was proposed.
"So, the intent was to have something more fiscally responsible, something more economical and more efficient for people to use,” said Tomasik. "Much more economical and green way of going about it instead of driving an empty bus back and forth."
Another difference between this option and traditional cab service is these rides must be booked at least one day in advance.
Driver Jodi Hudson works as a dispatcher and a driver with Go Connect. She said one thing she really appreciates about this option is her interactions with her passengers — some of which have already become regulars in the month that Go Connect has been available.
"Well, you tend to build relationships with them, the more often you see them, and you know, you just have great conversations — the ride goes so much smoother and faster," Hudson said. "They appreciate the service. A lot of people are in need of the service. So, they're very grateful that we're able to get them to and from."
Go Connect is a pilot program, with Winnebago County agreeing to fund the program for a year. After that, it will be evaluated, and future funding plans will be determined.
Go Connect micro-transit service is offered from 6:15 a.m. to 6:45 p.m. on weekdays and Saturdays. It does not run on Sundays.
“I think it gives you satisfaction knowing that you were able to help people that are dependent on the transport and it's very fairly priced for people as well," Hudson said.
For more information about the program, or to go online to book a ride, you can visit the Go Connect website.