The Platteville Common Council will cast its vote on whether the city should combine its taxi service with the UW–Platteville shuttle Tuesday.
A public hearing will be held on the proposal at the beginning of the council meeting Tuesday at 7 p.m.
The proposal is being marketed as a way for the city and the university to get more funding than both presently receive, thus increasing service without increasing cost to city residents and UWP students. A Southwest Wisconsin Regional Planning Commission study of combining the two reported that the federal and state governments would contribute $1.40 for every $1 the city and university provide.
If approved, though, a combined taxi and shuttle service wouldn’t be started until after the 2014–15 UW–Platteville academic year ends, and UWP’s contract with Stratton Buses of Cuba City runs out.
A combined service could be run by one operator for both the taxis and shuttles, or separate contractors for the taxis and shuttles, Director of Public Works Howard Crofoot said.
The city receives 58.4 percent of funding for its taxi service from federal and state sources, primarily from federal gas taxes. Universities are not eligible for the federal or state matching funds. The city spends about $41,000 on the taxi service, while rider fares provide about $75,000, and the federal and state governments provide about $164,000. UW–Platteville’s shuttle is funded by a $30-per-year student fee.
Combining the two services means that the city, UWP students and rider fares would provide 42.6 percent of funding, and the combined service would receive 58.4 percent of its funding from the federal government and the state — an estimated additional $210,000.
“I believe it’s to our advantage to do that,” said Crofoot at a forum on the proposal Monday.
“Platteville has a potentially huge opportunity,” said James Winters, of the SWRPC, to increase service without increasing costs to the city or university. “All that would be provided would be a formal partnership.”
The SWRPC study modeled a potential merger on similar combined transit services in Stevens Point, Whitewater and Menominee, each of which has a four-year UW campus.
The study suggests running two concurrent shuttles and expanding routes. According to the study, 90 percent of the city would be served by a shuttle stop within one-fourth mile, or three blocks, of any spot in the city.
The proposal does not include new routes to the east end of East Business 151. Winters said Stevens Point instituted a plan to have businesses pay for a route with a Sponsor-a-Stop provision.
“Businesses have a vested interest in making sure they have a stop outside their door,” said Winters, who added that “a number of businesses are very willing and excited.”
UW–Platteville sustainability coordinator Amy Seeboth-Wilson said discussions had taken place with Southwest Health about a route to the hospital.
The study is available on UW–Platteville’s website, www.uwplatt.edu/transportation; go to About, and select Transportation Studies.