Friendly Rider offers rides to people in NYM area

By Chad Koenen


Do you have a doctors appointment? Perhaps you need to get to the grocery store and need a ride? If so, the Friendly Rider in Wadena is willing to pick you up and give you a ride in style.

Based in Wadena, the Friendly Rider currently comes to New York Mills on Tuesdays and Thursdays, on demand, to pick up residents. The bus arrives in NY Mills at 9:15 a.m. on Tuesdays and Thursdays and comes back to NY Mills at 1 p.m. The bus only comes to town when there is a scheduled pick up or ride.

However, community member Rachel Ecklund is hoping to draw more awareness for the service to help NY Mills residents get to appointments in town or other communities. She said people can schedule appointments when they know the bus is coming to town.

Wadena County Transit Director Randy Jahnke said the hope is to take a look at the transportation needs for the residents of NY Mills. He said that could include everything from having more pick up times in the community to potentially having a bus stationed in town for longer periods of time. Any change would need to fulfill the overall rider demands in the community as well.  

Currently the bus just brings people from one destination to another and then leaves town. 

All of the busses on the Friendly Rider are equipped with a lift for wheel chairs and walkers, while drivers are trained and regulated through FTA standards. The cost for a ride is $1.50 for 0-5 miles one way, $3 for 5-10 miles one way and $4.50 for over 10 miles one way. 

The Friendly Rider, which is based in Wadena, began in 2003 and provides between 60,000-70,000 rides annually. 

For more information, or to schedule a pick up, contact (218) 631-5730.