NORFOLK, Neb. (KCAU) — In early January, North Fork Area Transit suspended its services because it could no longer afford operations, but there are dozens of people in need of transportation.
Aaron and Shane Clausen don’t run a transportation company, but they saw a need and stepped up to help.
Clausen Brothers Construction has been around for roughly 75 years building houses for first time homeowners and retirees.
“We just knew there was a need. I mean obviously just being part of a management company that works with people 62 and older and realizing they were struggling to get to and from their appointments. We knew there was a need there, so we felt like that we can help out,” said Shane Clausen, part owner of Clausen Brothers Construction.
With a long drive to the Sioux Falls area and a donation from The Odd Fellows, a local senior living community in Norfolk, Neb., the brothers were able to secure a bus.
“It has a lift on the back that can lift somebody up in a wheelchair and it’s a 15/14 seat bus, so it’s not a bad vehicle,” said Shane Clausen.
After the transit service temporarily shut down, many in the community were concerned and couldn’t get around. Corinne Donahue, the Nebraska Department of Transportation (DOT) Mobility Management Project manager said the City of Norfolk is very thankful to the brothers.
“We’re so glad to have a partner agency help the residents of Norfolk just to get a trip to dialysis, or to a senior center for meals, or groceries is wonderful that they have the resources to make that happen,” said Donahue.
Monday was Aaron and Shane’s first day opening their transportation service to people in the community. Shane said to get a ride, residents will need to call between 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. and make an appointment the day before.
“It won’t be like the flex route system where it ran around town, this’ll more be like, ‘Hey, I got an appointment at 6:30, can I call in and can you get me there and then can you come and pick me up?’ That’ll be how we’ll run this service,” said Shane Clausen.
To help operate this service, the North Fork Area Transit is lending a hand to the brothers.
“We actually got a couple people from the north fork transit to come help us, we’re gonna have someone working in the office to take phone calls then we also got some a driver. So hopefully we can provide some sort of service and utilize some people that were working for north folk transit at the same time,” said Shane Clausen.
Norfolk city leaders said they hope to have the funds to restart North Fork Area Transit in the near future, but don’t have a specific timeline yet.