History and Structure

For 10-12 years, individuals in the Bismarck-Mandan area were concerned about transportation needs of elderly and people with disabilities. A committee of interested consumers, professionals and concerned citizens was established in the fall of 1986 to begin the process of establishing a  coordinated transportation system for these members of the community. The Bis-Man Transit Board officially was incorporated as a non-profit in North Dakota on April 28th, 1987.

The purpose of the organization was to identify, promote, coordinate, and establish transportation services for elderly and handicapped individuals in the Bismarck and Mandan areas; to identify and meet transportation service needs of the elderly and handicapped individuals as they relate to employment, medical, recreational issues; to establish a transportation network serving elderly and handicapped individuals utilizing federal, state, county and local funding sources.

Bismarck and Mandan were considered metropolitan areas and were allocated approximately $300,000 a year from UMTA (Urban Mass Transit Authority). Because these funds had not been used in the area, after three years they were redistributed between Fargo, Grand Forks, and Minot. To access these funds for the Bis-Man Transit Board, Bismarck and Mandan had to match 50% of the operational loses and UMTA would provide 50% of the operational loses.

A transit study had to be developed for eligibility of UMTA funding. In fall 1988, Bismarck and Mandan contracted with BRW of Minneapolis, MN to conduct the transit study and develop a transit plan. In December 1989 the final study and plan was received by the Transit Board. An application was submitted to the Denver Regional office of UMTA in January 1990 and in September 1990 final notification was received that the plan and application were approved, contingent upon matching funds being available.

Through various fundraising activities and a two year grant from the ND Council on Developmental Disabilities first awarded in October 1989, enough funds were obtained to meet the match. In May 1990, a limited service for individuals with developmental disabilities was started. In June 1990 the Transit Board contracted with Central NoDak Development Corporation to have management staff and office space for the Bis-Man Transit Board.

The Transit plan as initially developed identifies the Bis-Man Transit Board as the broker for the cities of Bismarck and Mandan. The temporary provider of services was Taxi 9000. The broker was responsible for the administration of the transit system, raising of the local non-federal share to match the UMTA transit grant, soliciting of all proposals for service providers, verification and paying of provider invoices, monitoring provider compliance, providing all necessary monthly operating and financial reports, distributing service information materials, selling fare tickets, certifying all riders and maintaining a rider database, and handling of resolutions and complaints.

The provider’s role, as initially developed, was responsibility for door to door transportation of all riders 24 hours a day, seven days per week and to provide all facilities, personnel and equipment necessary to carry out the transportation service until vehicles were purchased by the broker and owned by the city.

The city’s responsibility was to establish all major service policies and procedures, final review and approval of administrative documents and budgets, and certain other functions connected with the program including liaison with the Urban Mass Transportation Administration on all grant and programmatic requirements.

The initial coordinated system as developed was a door to door, 24 hour in advance reservation system available 24 hours per day, seven days per week. To qualify to be a certified rider an application had to be completed with verification of being age 60 or older or of having a certifiable disability.  

Click here to download a copy of the Bis-Man Transit Policies and Procedures Guide.

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