NICE puts brakes on rural service

Print Article

SANDPOINT — Local transportation officials are scrambling to restore services after North Idaho Community Express announced the cancellation of its rural presence.

Community Transportation Association of Idaho mobility manager Clifton Warren informed the Bonner County Area Transportation Team on Wednesday that NICE was halting rural transportation in Kootenai, Bonner and Shoshone counties as well as intercity travel between Sandpoint and Coeur d’Alene. The termination of services ultimately boiled down to a lack of local funding, Warren said.

“We are trying very desperately to find candidates that can restore services,” he added.

The precise details behind the service cancellation are still unknown. According to Warren, an abrupt chain of events resulted in the suddenness of the dropped routes.

“I can confirm that no malfeasance was involved,” Idaho Transportation Department information office spokeswoman Susan Kiebert said. “Otherwise, I’m not sure of the details.” 

The end of the services come as bad news for many individuals in Bonner County. Around 20 Sandpoint students used the system to attend classes at North Idaho College, according to school associate Kathy Kraus. Many elderly or infirmed residents also relied on the bus to make their doctor appointments.

Warren suggests that former NICE clientele find an alternative means of transportation like Sandpoint’s taxi companies, American Carriage Transportation or White Tail Transportation. Meanwhile, IDT and CTAI are working to find an alternative service provider. With some state funding available, the organizations are currently searching for the right candidate to step in as a service provider.

“We’re hoping to have something in place by the end of January,” Warren said.

But Kiebert said that establishing new transportation infrastructure is no mean feat, especially given the unexpectedness of the situation.

“We were all taken by surprise,” she said. “I had always enjoyed a really good working relationship with NICE.” 

Warren said that IDT and CTAI are fully committed to addressing the situation and advised concerned individuals to check for updates on the i-way.org blog.

“I’m really sorry that this happened, and we’re doing everything we can to make sure the situation is resolved,” he said.

Print Article

Read More News

Shooting suspect declared ready for trial

March 25, 2017 at 5:00 am | Coeur d'Alene Press COEUR d'ALENE — After nearly three months of mental health treatment, Kyle Odom is ready to stand trial. The 30-year-old man accused of shooting Pastor Tim Remington eight times in a church parking ...

Comments

Read More

Shooting suspect declared ready for trial

March 25, 2017 at 5:00 am | Coeur d'Alene Press COEUR d'ALENE — After nearly three months of mental health treatment, Kyle Odom is ready to stand trial. The 30-year-old man accused of shooting Pastor Tim Remington eight times in a church parking ...

Comments

Read More

DYW scholarship program tonight

March 25, 2017 at 5:00 am | Bonner County Daily Bee SANDPOINT — Eight outstanding high school juniors are participating in tonight’s 2016 Distinguished Young Women of Sandpoint program. The event, which is part of a national scholarship program that ...

Comments

Read More

New stipend incentive for volunteer firefighters

March 25, 2017 at 5:00 am | Bonner County Daily Bee SANDPOINT — City Council members approved a $15 per call stipend for volunteer firefighters last week in hopes it will encourage more response from volunteers from home, with less duty time at the st...

Comments

Read More