Mayor considers public transportation in Rexburg

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Mayor Jerry Merrill explained there were plans to institute a public transportation system in Rexburg. Plans have been set back since the Teton Regional Public Transit Authority, a company that had plans to start a public transportation system in Rexburg, went bankrupt.

“It’s a big puzzle,” Merrill said.

Rexburg was counting on Teton Regional Public Transit Authority to afford the expense of public transportation without causing overwhelming costs to Rexburg residents. Now, the mayor is looking into alternative options. He wants to make services available to those who would use them.

Merrill explained that Rexburg is in the information gathering stage. Idaho Falls will be instituting a pilot public transportation program. The mayor in Idaho Falls suggested that Rexburg watch them and see how public transportation works nearby.

A few years ago, Rexburg reached out to BYU-Idaho about doing a cooperative public transit service for students and the community. At the time, BYU-I felt there wasn’t sufficient interest among students. Merrill wonders if students’ desire for public transportation has been affected by a lack of parking and an increase in traffic.

“It would be interesting to see survey results of BYU-I students to see how many students would be willing to not bring a car and instead use public transportation,” Merrill said.

Laurie Behrman, a senior studying art education, has a disability that makes it difficult for her to walk. Walking to places that she needs to go such as doctor appointments and the grocery store is not an option for her. Until she can afford a vehicle, she is left using the Walmart shuttle and asking people for rides.

“Having to ask for rides can be humiliating,” Behrman said.

Students and Rexburg residents can email customerservices@rexburg.org to say if they would use public transportation. Things to consider concerning the future of public transportation in Rexburg are the rate for the service and how soon will Rexburg grow in size and traffic.