Arrowhead Transit was recently recognized in a video by the Minnesota Public Transit Association for their efforts with food delivery.
Arrowhead Transit provided 50 buses to transport 4,157 boxes, or 70,669 pounds, of produce to partner organizations in 2020. Arrowhead helped distribute boxes of produce to residents throughout the following counties: Aitkin, Carlton, Cook, Itasca, Koochiching, Lake, Pine and St. Louis. The distributions were hosted on a weekly basis by Arrowhead Economic Opportunity Agency (AEOA), which is a nonprofit organization that operates Arrowhead Transit.
Arrowhead also donated several staff members each week to hand out boxes of produce during parking lot distributions in both Hibbing and Virginia. In total, as of July 2020, AEOA distributed approximately 9,000 boxes -- and 153,000 pounds -- of produce to those in need.
Arrowhead staff members say they were pleased to help with these efforts, and thankful for the additional work being provided to them at this time.
“The drivers are all happy to keep working, yet are worried about the public,” said Julia Dupla, Arrowhead Transit Manager. “They have really been great, and are working together to make sure everyone has enough work to do.”
Transit systems have been helping people and serving communities throughout the pandemic and transit systems continue to transport people safely. Arrowhead Transit took many steps to not only provide food and essentials for those in need, but also increase cleaning and provide safe transit to their community, including:
• De-fogging buses
• Wiping down commonly touched surfaces.
• Social distancing on buses
• Requiring masks on buses
They also helped community members get to and from COVID testing sites and waived bus fares from March 23, 2020 to January 2, 2021 to limit contact between passengers and drivers during the COVID-19 pandemic.
“All of us at Arrowhead Transit have taken the pandemic very seriously, and are extremely proud of our collective efforts to date,” stated Arrowhead Transit Marketing/Public Relations Coordinator Tony Potter. “We’ve done everything within our power to ensure the safety of our staff, our riders and the community as a whole during this trying time.”
The Minnesota Public Transit Association thanks systems statewide for their help, and to show our support for everything transit has done for our state we posted videos showcasing multiple transit systems in their efforts to assist communities. The Food Delivery video featuring Arrowhead Transit is available here. Videos will be shared on MPTA’s social media accounts.
Transit systems are now critical for helping people who can’t drive to get to vaccination sites. As vaccines begin to roll out, and Minnesota plans to get adults vaccinated this spring and into the summer, this will prove to be an important service to the entire community. Transit funding needs to be continued and supported by the legislature.