New Ulm will benefit from a new fixed-service bus route, but current Heartland Express bus service will remain unchanged, said Pat LaCourse, transit manager for Heartland Express.

“The bus service we currently run will still operate and no changes are planned,” he said.

Heartland Express has been Brown County’s transit provider since 1993. The service actually started years earlier as a volunteer driver organization.

Heartland Express provides bus service to all of Brown County, with three buses serving New Ulm and two serving the rest of the county. All but one of the four buses are parked in New Ulm and one bus is in Sleepy Eye.

“Anyone can take the bus” said LaCourse. “We operate 6:15 a.m. to 5:45 p.m. Monday through Friday and 8 a.m. to noon on Sunday. To use our service, you must call our office at 507-359-2717 or 800-359-2717 at least one business day prior to travel.

Heartland Express takes ride requests up to two weeks in advance. All buses are equipped with a lift, which means that anyone of any mobility can get on. The cost to ride the bus is $1.50, or 1 token each way.

For passengers outside the city limits, the charge is $3 per ride, or two tokens.

Heartland Express has tokens available at many county banks and grocery stores. The cost of the tokens is $13 for a pack of 10, saving 20 cents each way.

“We also have a volunteer driver program to bring Brown County residents to locations within 50 miles of New Ulm for medical appointments,” said LaCourse.

The fixed bus line to New Ulm will be added to these current services. It will not replace the current Heartland Express service.

The start of the fixed bus route depends on when the bus is dispatched. Heartland Express ordered a new bus four months ago, but with supply chain issues and shipping delays, it’s unclear when the bus will arrive. A notice will be sent two months before the arrival of the vehicle.

The fixed bus route will travel to many income-based housing locations in New Ulm and grocery stores, stopping at each location once per hour.

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