Photo of North Fork Area Transit van and shuttle bus with their new purple and yellow branded vehicle wraps
Colorful new vehicle wraps are an important marketing tool to advertise the new services. Photo credit to Olsson.

Norfolk Public Transit has rebranded and renamed their service as North Fork Area Transit (NFAT). On September 8, NFAT’s governing board invited the public and elected officials from the City of Norfolk and Madison County to an open house to unveil the agency’s new marketing campaign and preview new services. Attendees were able to board colorful, wrapped transit vehicles and learn more about plans for expanded services.

Now just three months after their marketing efforts, NFAT is experiencing record ridership. Jeanne Doerneman, NFAT’s Director, says, “The kids rides have been growing and many new riders because of excellent marketing. Everyone is seeing the big purple buses! We had a new rider tell us he has a car but wanted to ride the purple bus. The driver said I hope this is not the only time we will see you and he said I will continue to ride the bus. That is one of our biggest goals is to get people to save resources and ride the bus. Our hope is that the flex route increases our young adult ridership. Everywhere I go I ask if people have seen the new purple buses, and everyone has seen them whereas before most people didn’t even know we were here for the public. We hit our goal of 200 rides a day a few months ago at the beginning of marketing and now months later almost double rides of 346 rides for today! It also helps that we have an excellent staff of drivers that are friendly and caring and dispatchers dedicated to great customer service.”

Currently, NFAT provides traditional demand response service with a 24-hour advance reservation.  Passengers book their ride and a transit vehicle will pick them up at the curb Monday-Friday between 8:30 A.M. and 5:30 P.M. This service will now be referred to as “Telelift” and will eventually be expanded beyond the current 30-mile service area to include regional transportation service.

Early in 2022, NFAT will launch “Forklift”, a new service that will operate on three different routes.  Service will be provided on pre-determined flexroutes and schedules that will allow passengers to hop on the bus at any of over 100 new bus stops. The service will operate seven days a week and will include transfer points, so passengers have access to all three routes.

Later in 2022, NFAT plans to introduce “Expresslift” a new on-demand service similar to Uber and Lyft.  Passengers will book same-day trips using a mobile device and app. Norfolk Mayor, Josh Moenning, is excited about all the new service. The Mayor said, “The City of Norfolk is an active and willing partner in all of this. In fact, we’re willing to put our money where our mouth is because we recognize the value of public transit.” Troy Uhlir, Madison County Commissioner agrees. Mr Uhlir said, “Providing transportation options to our residents allows access to food, health care, educational opportunities, community engagement and jobs.”

Funding to plan and launch the new service is provided by state and federal funds available through the Nebraska Department of Transportation. The City and County will provide local matching funds for operating and capital expenditures. The Norfolk transportation expansion project is a priority for NDOT’s Statewide Mobility Management team and will serve as a model for other Nebraska towns and cities to launch similar service. To learn more about the new services in Norfolk and other mobility management projects across the state visit northforkareatransit.com and nebraskatransit.com.

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Nebraska Public Transit is a program administered by the Nebraska Department of Transportation. NDOT’s Local Assistance Division is responsible for coordinating public transportation activities in Nebraska’s 93 counties and provides technical assistance as requested. NDOT receives money from the Federal Transit Administration and state transportation funds to fulfill requirements set forth by Nebraska Revised Statute 13-1204.

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