May 2016 Advisory Meeting Minutes

Harbor Transit Local Advisory Committee


Grand Haven Community Center


The meeting was called to order at 1:16 p.m.

Members present:

Roger White, Chairperson

Carol Soule, Grand Haven Citizen Representative

Ray Harz, Grand Haven Charter Township Representative

Nancy Nielsen, Spring Lake Village Representative

Jon Toppen, Member at Large

Marion McDonald, Spring Lake Township

Lou Paxton, Citizen

Members absent:

Kathy Hamm, Grand Haven Charter Township Representative

Warren Roosen, North Ottawa Council on Aging Represenative

Karen Flannigan, Grand Haven Charter Township

Carrie Uthe, Spring Lake Township


Harbor Transit staff:

Tom Manderscheid, Transportation Director

Anthony Dionise, Operations Manager

Shelly Converse, Customer Care/Compliance Manager

Dennis Swartout, Public Relations Manager

John Phillips, Safety/Training Coordinator

Moved by Jon Toppen and supported by Carol Soule, to approve the minutes of the February 24, 2016.  Motion carried.

  1. General Business/Call to Audience


  1.  General Business:
Review of January-April 2016 Ridership

Tom went over the ridership comparison graph indicating a continual rise in our ridership. Credit for part of the increase went to Spring Lake Township, as our newest entity. He addressed the fact that we will decrease our advertising expenditures for the time being, as our demand response buses sell themselves. We will place advertising monies into other venues that we supply a mode of transportation for. Also touched on, was a brief vehicle update, the new bus #6 is in service, and bus #8 is up for bids.

Report on Beach Express

Denny informed the Board that the Beach Express will make route adjustments due to construction on Harbor Drive. He anticipates an increase in ridership in part due to the construction, and the want for people to avoid the congestion. His plan is to advertise this service in the Grand Rapids area along with local advertising on our buses. He will contact the State Park and provide them with brochures for the Beach Express, Trolley, and Harbor Transit.

Committee Comments

Roger White expressed an interest in signs being placed in all vehicles before Coast Guard week with information for the public. Signs would consist of all services offered during this week.

Roger was also given information on the LLC Trolley at this time by Denny. Denny told the committee the LLC Trolley will be available for rent at a cost of $200.00 per hour with a two hour minimum. He also explained the LLC is a separate entity from Harbor Transit, and not affiliated in any way with the HTMMTS.

Pilot Program for Senior’s

A brief update was given by Shelly informing the committee that the program will proceed as planned on June 11, 2016. We will provide hourly service for Evergreen Village, American House, Pinewood Place, and Village at the Pines. The designated drops are Wal-Mart, Meijer, and D&W. The shuttle will operate from 9:00 a.m. until 2:00 p.m. Monday thru Saturday.

Committee Comments

Nancy Nielsen stated that the seniors she has spoken with are excited about this program, and hope it continues beyond the pilot that ends in August 2016.

Committee Input on Customer Service

It was a general consensus that people are satisfied with the level of service we are providing. Nancy did bring to our attention the fact that there was a scheduling error with her pick up in the prior week. She did add that the dispatcher who set the ride up admitted to her mistake and apologized.


Student Conduct Policy

Shelly stated that this policy has been put on hold. In a conversation she had with Tom, it was explained that because we are a public transit we cannot write policies defined for one sector. John Phillips will be reviewing Harbor Transits rider policy. He will be updating and revising the current policy in the near future.

Committee Comments

Roger White concurred with the above said.

  1. Old Business:


  1. Director Report:

Tom spoke on numerous topics, with buses being a priority. New bus #6 that was bought in January was delivered in late April. It is an Arboc LP bus that seats 18 passengers. The bus was purchased for $141,000.00 with a federal grant. He informed the committee that four (4) more buses will be ordered by June 10, 2016 with monies also from federal grants totaling $540,000.00.  Ordering of the buses in a timely manner is critical, as there has been no price increase on vehicles in five years. Another advantage to all vehicles being uniform is the purchasing of tires. We are able to order tires in bulk quantities by purchasing the same size and make, thus saving money. We have done business with both Z-Tire and Floyd’s Tire in Grand Haven.


The dispatching office was given credit for the job they perform on a daily basis. Dispatchers have a critical position in the workplace. The majority of the dispatchers are full-time employees with benefits. A scheduler has been added to the dispatch team. The scheduler’s primary job is to schedule all trips in advance to reduce wait times for customers.


With MPTA information a tax credit was filed with the IRS for a rebate on propane fuel. The tax credit would reimburse Harbor Transit .50 cents on every gallon. At the present time we are locked in at $1.04 per gallon through November 31, 2016. This credit would put us at .54 cents for fuel. We should hear if we are approved with a few weeks.


The budget for the 2017 year was approved by the HT Board at the meeting held on January 27, 2016. Tom gave a brief description as to where the money comes from. $1.1 mil. is from MDOT,

$526,000.00 is Federal, $1.2 mil. is property tax, and $200,000.00 are from fares. “Financially, we are better than ever” said Tom.

Committee Comments

Roger requested that a copy of the budget be brought to the next meeting. He thought it would give the committee a better understanding into the financial aspect of Harbor Transit.

Nancy questioned if we had enough help in our mechanical area. She was told by a driver that the kneeler of bus she was on was not working. The driver also informed her that she had written it up several times without it being repaired. Shelly informed her that it was not a mechanical error, but driver error instead.

  1. The Local Advisory Committee’s next meeting is scheduled for August 17, 2016 at the Grand Haven Community Center.
  1. Adjournment:

The meeting was adjourned at 2:14 p.m.

Respectfully submitted,

Shelly Converse

Customer Care & Compliance Manager




Posted on by Don Rogers in HTMMTS Meeting Minutes, News