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Jeff Simon

A pair of surveys seeking information about transportation needs for two different demographic groups in the area will be available in the coming weeks.

The Dyersville Area Community Foundation (DACF), in partnership with the Regional Transportation Authority (RTA), will conduct a workforce transportation needs survey, delivering it to a select group of larger employers in the communities of Dyersville, Farley, New Vienna, Petersburg and Worthington.

Those same communities will receive another survey to see if senior citizens would utilize public transportation if it were available.

Farley Mayor Jeff Simon is also a committee member on the DACF and explained the surveys.

“For the workforce transportation survey, it will give us a chance to speak with larger employers one-on-one as they fill out the survey.”

Simon explained that a recent housing survey in Farley showed several people who work in Farley but live somewhere else. He said if results show a need for workforce transportation, there is a possibility of transporting workers from out of town to their places of employment.

The idea is not without its challenges.

“There would need to be some type of partnership between employers and employees. Some challenges might be if all the industries have shifts that start and end at the same time. Will today’s workers give up having the freedom of having their own vehicles at work?”

He believes it could help community industries. “Maybe it would make it easier to retain employees or to attract new ones. This could be a way for a manufacturer to differentiate their company from another.”

According to Simon, survey results may determine the next step. “Before we jump in and offer the service, we have to find out if the need is there. If it isn’t, we probably won’t pursue it.”

Transportation surveys need to be returned to the DACF by Monday, Sept. 23.

Results of a senior transportation survey could result in senior citizens having public transportation options they currently don’t have.

The DACF hopes to make surveys available at places senior citizens meet. “These people are our mom and dad, our grandparents, our aunts and uncles,” Simon explained. “How can we as a community foundation make an impact on their lives?”

The surveys may be downloaded at www.farleyiowa.com and at www.dyersville.org. Hard copies of the forms are available at the city offices of Dyersville, Farley, New Vienna, Petersburg and Worthington. Surveys need to be returned by the Sept. 23 deadline.

Chandra Ravada, director of transportation planning and transit systems at the East Central Governmental Association (ECIA), said his agency is ready to assist the area once the survey results are in.

“We will analyze the surveys and get them back to the community foundation showing if there is a need or not,” Ravada said. “If there is a need, we will provide some suggestions to the foundation.”

He said ECIA will help find funding sources for the communities. “We try to find a way for the communities not to bear a lot of costs. There are grant opportunities for funding that members can apply for. We will help them with the process and make sure they get everything in place.”