Crow Wing, Brainerd transit system eliminates express route

The express route hours will now be dedicated to the Dial-A-Ride service.

Brainerd City Council members discuss matters during their meeting Monday, March 16, at the Crow Wing County Historic Courthouse. Theresa Bourke / Brainerd Dispatch

The express route is no longer an option on the Brainerd and Crow Wing County Transit System buses.

The Brainerd City Council agreed to eliminate the route during a meeting March 16, citing lack of ridership and high costs.

The express route was a fixed route running with scheduled stops at specific locations throughout Brainerd and Baxter. A subcommittee formed by the city’s Transportation Advisory Committee evaluated the route and found it lost about $7,000 in the past year.

“It just made sense,” council member Kelly Bevans said of discontinuing the service. “That, and more people are wanting to do the curb-to-curb service, the Dial-A-Ride.”

The Transportation Advisory Committee discussed at its February meeting the idea of rerouting the express route but agreed that would not guarantee more ridership. An increase in ticket prices to recoup revenue, the group decided, would decrease ridership even further.


The hours previously spent on the express route will now be dedicated to the transit systems Dial-A-Ride service, which allows customers to call for a bus to pick them up at their home or workplace and take them to their desired location.

In other business Monday, the council:

Authorized the fire department to apply for a $300,000 grant through the Otter Bremer Trust.

Promoted police officer Derek Pallansch to sergeant, effective April 13. He will earn $35.67 per hour.

Hired Darrin Deseth as building official effective March 17 and placed him at Step 2 on the city’s wage grid. He will earn $31.11 per hour. Deseth was previously appointed interim building official after the retirement of Chuck Arvidson March 3. The council also authorized staff to post for a new building inspector to replace Deseth.

Authorized staff to apply for a Department of Natural Resources Outdoor Recreation Grant to assist in the Memorial Park redesign project. The city is requesting $236,338 of grant funds.

Signed an agreement with Crow Wing County to convey a portion of Riverside Drive/County Highway 20 from county to city control. A more detailed agreement with particulars of the deal will come at the council’s next meeting.

The road in question is a 0.7-mile stretch of County Highway 20/Riverside Drive extending from Washington Street/Highway 210 to Beaver Dam Road.


Agreed to seek a part-time downtown maintenance employee to help with landscaping. The money to fund the position will come from the $7,600 allocated to the planning commission for a summer intern, which the department does not plan to hire this year. The duties would include watering and maintaining landscaping, emptying garbages, clearing sidewalks of debris and event support. The installation of landscaping and winterization of irrigation systems downtown will still be contracted and assessed to downtown property owners.

THERESA BOURKE may be reached at or 218-855-5860. Follow her on Twitter at .
Theresa Bourke started working at the Dispatch in July 2018, covering Brainerd city government and area education, including Brainerd Public Schools and Central Lakes College.
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