T.H.E. Bus recognized by state transit organization

Times Report
Crookston Times

    Crookston-based Tri-Valley Opportunity Council, Inc.’s The Heartland Express (T.H.E. Bus) has been recognized in a video by the Minnesota Public Transit Association for their efforts with food delivery, increased cleaning and personal protective equipment (PPE), and transporting essential workers and passengers on essential errands.

    Transit systems have been helping people and serving communities throughout the pandemic, and they continue to transport people safely. Tri-Valley has taken many steps to increase cleaning and provide safe transit to their community. Some of them include:

    • Fogging machines on buses

    • Encouraging social distancing and mask-wearing

    • Limited the number of riders to 4 on Class 400 buses

    • Provided disinfectant wipes along with bleach/water solution and disinfectant sprays for the bus drivers to continue to sanitize the buses on a daily basis.  

    • Buses are thoroughly cleaned by the maintenance department on a weekly basis.

    Tri-Valley says it plans to continue some if not all of these measures after the pandemic ends since this addressed a community need that will probably not go away after the pandemic. Tri-Valley also provided free rides to COVID testing events multiple times throughout the pandemic.

    Tri-Valley Transit also teamed up with the Thief River Falls Area Food Shelf to help deliver CFSP (NAPS) boxes to the community both in Thief River Falls and rural families since May. Tri-Valley is working with Director Alice Hunt of the Thief River Falls Area Food Shelf to receive the monthly list of deliveries. Tri-Valley dispatch then schedules and sets up the route for one to two drivers to make the deliveries.  

    “The idea to start this was to help solve a problem that (there) was too many delivery requests brought on by COVID-19,” said Lizzie Vedbraaten, transit route coordinator. “When talking with Alice one day she voiced this problem and I said ‘yes, I think we can help with that.’”

    During last May and June Tri-Valley delivered 80 boxes of food.

    “This service helps the community in that we are able to reach more people with the Thief River Food Shelf and T.H.E Bus working together in delivering the CFSP (NAPS) boxes,” Vedbraaten said. “When talking with the drivers Gary Anenson and Dean Lubitz, they both stated how it makes them feel as though they are a bigger part of the community that they serve as they are able to give back.”

    The Minnesota Public Transit Association wanted to show its gratitude to its systems statewide for their help, and to show its support for everything transit has done in Minnesota the association posted videos showcasing multiple transit systems in their efforts to assist communities starting with the video that features Tri-Valley.

    Videos will be shared on MPTA’s social media accounts.