Letter from the President & Director of Transportation
On August 14, 1975 Grand Haven realized a significant milestone when local officials determined that city wide public transportation would be made available to its citizens. Long before baby boomers, a population with a longer life expectancy, or a burgeoning school system City Fathers realized the necessity and value of an affordable local bus system. Thus, Dial-A-Ride-Transit (DART) was born, when four red, white, and blue vans; plus a staff of eleven personnel began day to day operations. Little did they know that over the next four decades the system would expand and improve as much as it has. But, even with all that has changed over the years one thing has remained constant – management and staff’s unqualified commitment to providing the highest quality service possible. The following pages of this annual report serve as a written testimony to our long standing tradition of excellence and highlights not only the significant achievements of the last twelve months but is also a reflection on how far we’ve come. While numbers play a big part in telling our story, it’s the people who are truly the ones that make it happen. In either case, this is the story of the performance of Harbor Transit – your public transportation provider.
Records were made to be broken and thus during the twelve months ending on December 31, 2014 a record number of 223,350 riders of all ages realized the benefits of Harbor Transit. While the majority of trips originated in the City of Grand Haven, riders had access to medical, social, and shopping options throughout the Tri-Cities. In particular, strong growth was realized in the 18 and under age group, a continuing result of our entry into Grand Haven Charter Township. Seniors remain a major component of our ridership and would be expected to continue given the aging population of this growing portion our service area. Another growth spurt in ridership numbers is expected from the recent entry into Spring Lake Township which began on August 31 of this year.
In order to manage this expanding operation, a major investment was made in upgrading the technology related to our dispatching system. Computer Aided Dispatch (CAD) was installed earlier this year which will significantly enhance our operational efficiency. Moving from a manual to automated system has meant improved communications, quicker response times, more accurate record keeping, and most importantly better service to our customer. Future refinements and features to the system will truly bring our operational capabilities up to a level never before seen.
As we begin our fifth decade of service to the residents of the Tr-Cities we come to realize that for a number of our employees this journey has been a way of life. The years of service for bus drivers Diane Muzyczuk, Sue Bomer, Tom Potter, and dispatcher Patrick Hanna is a collective 131 years. A testament to their long standing dedication to their profession. They typify the commitment that each one of our fifty-five employees bring with them to work each and every day. We celebrated that commitment along with our history at an employee birthday party held on August 22 at Mulligan’s Hollow. Retirees as well as current employees shared memories of how far Harbor Transit has come over the last forty years.
On behalf of both the Local Advisory Committee and the Harbor Transit Multi-Modal Transportation System Board of Directors we are pleased to provide this annual report to you. We wish to express our appreciation to the staff, the board, and the broader community for their continued support of our efforts to bring top quality public transportation to the Tri-Cities. What began in August of 1975 still thrives today, and we have every expectation it will continue for decades more to come.
Craig Bessinger President HTMMTS Board
Tom Manderscheid Director of Transportation Harbor Transit