A little over a year ago, the City of Idaho Falls launched its new public transit service, Greater Idaho Falls Transit (GIFT) On-Demand. Today, city officials are pleased to announce that GIFT received a City Achievement Award in the category of Public Works and Transportation.
GIFT is what is referred to as a microtransit service – commonly referred to as rideshare – in which passengers travel together in the same direction in a vehicle driven by a rideshare provider for an inexpensive fee. GIFT is an on-demand door-to-door service that comes directly to homes or anywhere else in the city of Idaho Falls to pick up the user, eliminating the need for fixed routes or bus stops.
City representatives received the award during last week’s annual Association of Idaho Cities (AIC) Banquet in Boise, Idaho. The Association of Idaho Cities’ annual awards banquet recognizes city leaders for implementing creative, cost-saving programs and services, and is a way in which city leaders can share and learn from each other.
"The support of the mayor and city council of Idaho Falls has been instrumental in the success of GIFT. Each one has championed the service and from the beginning has understood the importance of public transit to the success of our residents and businesses," states Idaho Falls City Council President and GIFT Board Chair and Secretary Michelle Ziel-Dingman.
Scheduling and paying for rides is easy to do using the GIFT On-Demand app. Users can also call to schedule a ride, which can be scheduled up to one week in advance. The hours of operation are 6 a.m. to 9 p.m., Monday thru Friday and 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. on Saturdays.
GIFT vehicles are ADA compliant to serve the needs of individuals with disabilities, including those who require wheelchairs. All GIFT drivers are trained in basic medical transport to help those who need a little extra assistance. The drivers will help users from their front door, to the vehicle, and to the door of their destination. The vehicles are also equipped with bike racks, and they have plenty of room for luggage for those who need a ride to and from the airport.
“We’re honored to receive this recognition from AIC,” said Idaho Falls Mayor Rebecca Casper. “In the first year of operation, GIFT revolutionized how we view public transportation – not just in Idaho Falls – but throughout the Gem State. Other cities want what Idaho Falls citizens have, which is a reliable and affordable way to get from place to place when needed. That’s what we celebrate today. The challenge going forward, however, is identifying sufficient public and private financial support to replace the generous federal grants that helped establish this award-winning model of public transit. We’ll get there, but it won’t be without additional public support,” explains Casper.
Idaho Falls’ Transit Coordinator Kade Marquez states, “The GIFT team works diligently to provide reliable, affordable, and friendly service year-round. In fact, we’re on pace to hit the 100,000 ride mark in the coming year. Public transit provides an economic advantage by connecting the public to our local economy, and we’re seeing their support at every turn.”
Media Contact: Idaho Falls Public Works and Idaho Falls Fire Department, Public Information Officer, Kerry Hammon, (208) 612-8122 or [email protected].