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Trailblazer to sunset volunteer driver program at end of 2018

Trailblazer Transit will sunset its volunteer driver program at the end of 2018, the Joint Powers Board decided Thursday morning.
The board took into consideration both the dwindling number of volunteers and liability concerns in making its decision.
The volunteer driver program provides rides to residents in McLeod and Sibley counties and participating cities in Wright County that fall outside of the normal operating plan of Trailblazer Transit — typically, the rides are outside of the traditional service area and hours, and accommodate atypical service, such as rides to medical appointments in Rochester or elsewhere in the state.
“I believe we are at a crossroads,” Trailblazer Executive Director Gary Ludwig told the board on Thursday. “Either we invest in the program and try to keep it going, or the other option is to discontinue using it.”
Ludwig said that the program currently has five volunteer drivers, four of whom are quite active. He said the board could put some funding into trying to recruit more drivers and, perhaps, hire a part-time volunteer driver coordinator to help manage the program.
But whether that investment would pay off is unknown, Ludwig noted. Board members agreed that it is increasingly difficult to find volunteers for any organization.
For more from the Trailblazer Transit Joint Powers Board meeting, see the March 21 print edition of The Chronicle.