Original news story here.
The following is a news release and photo from the city of Idaho Falls.
The city of Idaho Falls is pleased to announce the hiring of its first transit coordinator, Kade Marquez, as the city embarks on a one-of-a-kind microtransit program.
Marquez joined the city last week and has already begun going through proposals from third-party providers who will operate the program under city of Idaho Falls and Idaho Transportation Department leadership. The new microtransit program will use multi-passenger vehicles for public on-demand rides scheduled either through a smartphone app, online or phone call.
“Microtransit has a lot of merit and a lot of people in the community will benefit from the project,” Marquez said. “It will be a modern service providing clean and friendly door-to-door service. I see myself using microtransit to get to work once it goes live.”
Prior to joining the city Marquez spent the past decade in the private sector working with companies that dealt with all things transportation. He grew up in eastern Idaho and has big plans for microtransit’s value for not only riders but also Idaho Falls businesses.
“A big decision in joining the city for me was wanting to contribute to the place where I live,” Marquez said. “I know as we provide this service it will provide independence at an affordable cost for those in our community who may not have reliable transportation.”
The new program also collaborates with Greater Idaho Falls Transit (GIFT) whose Board of Directors will act in an advisory capacity. The board will convene public hearings, advise on fares and help ensure the success of the venture program.
“Kade demonstrated significant critical-thinking skills, a passion for improving transportation for our community, and immense experience in contract management,” Idaho Falls City Council President and GIFT Board Chair Michelle Ziel-Dingman said. “After spending nearly three years on a solution to public transit in Idaho Falls, I’m very comfortable with Kade taking the helm and turning Greater Idaho Falls Transit’s vision into reality.“
ITD applied in 2021 for the Federal Transportation Administration to fund the initiation of the system through $4,191,157 in CARES Act money. ITD will reimburse the city for the cost of managing the transit service contract through the two-year initial pilot program. The program comes at no additional cost to the taxpayers.
Through the execution of the GIFT pilot microtransit program, ITD plans to gain insights into the effectiveness and utilization of small urban use of microtransit. The data obtained through the project will lead to further planning of recommendations for a sustainable service and possible expansion to the surrounding area outside of city limits.
“We couldn’t be happier about our new hire,” stated Public Works Director Chris Fredericksen. “There’s a great deal of excitement around standing up a microtransit program to serve the transportation needs of our community.”
The new microtransit project is expected to be launched in the Spring. Details on fares and how to schedule rides will be released in the near future.