What is public transportation?
Public transportation is an economical form of travel that provides personal mobility and freedom, especially for those who do not drive or have access to a vehicle.  It helps the environment and with energy conservation by reducing the number of vehicles on the road.
Prairie Hills Transit provides these services in the Black Hills with buses, vans, and a trolley.  Vanpool options for employees who travel long distances to work each day are in the works as well.   The majority of our vehicles are lift-equipped to meet requirements of the Americans with Disabilities Act.
Who can ride the bus?
Anyone can ride.  There are no age or income restrictions or requirements. Students from pre-school to college can ride the bus … whether it’s to and from home or daycare for the pre-school students, or to and from neighboring towns for college and university students.
Seniors and the general public can ride to medical and social appointments or volunteer opportunities.  And employees can travel to and from work (including between towns in some counties).
What are the bus routes/schedules?
Service varies widely between towns (see Schedules under Request-A-Ride on website home page). While there are some scheduled trips – such as medical trips between communities, and group shopping trips, most service is demand-response (meaning riders get picked up at their home, office, or other desired location and are dropped off directly at their destination, based on when they need to be there.) Schedule at least a day in advance.
Routes and times are subject to change. Call dispatch for current information. (605-642-6668)   
How do I schedule/cancel a ride?
All calls are dispatched through the regional administrative office in Spearfish. Riders can call 642-6668, or toll-free 1-877-673-3687 during business hours (7 a.m.-5 p.m.). Rides can also be booked online (see Request a Ride on the website home page), although riders should be aware that weekend bookings and messages are not retrieved until Monday morning.
If a trip is urgent, be sure to confirm arrangements by phone if you have booked a ride online.  Rides should be scheduled by 3 p.m. the day before.
How much does it cost?      (See Fares section)
Costs vary by town and distance traveled; and out-of-town trips depend on miles traveled and if they are regular scheduled routes or outside the regular route, which is called a special trips. Call 605-642-6668 (or toll-free 1-877-673-3687) for details. 
Fares are required for passengers 59 and younger. Senior passengers 60 and older ride in town by donation. Suggested donations are the same as the set fares, but seniors pay what they can afford. No one 60 or over will be denied transportation to medical services due to inability to pay. 
How/where do I buy a ticket?
Currently, tickets are available at the Prairie Hills Transit office, 2015 Tumble Weed Trail in Spearfish, or at the Lead City Hall for travel in Deadwood and Lead.  Payment can also be accepted by phone with check or credit card. 
Riders can also pay the driver for individual rides by using the fare box (exact amount is required as the drivers do not carry change).
Can I buy a monthly pass?
Prairie Hills Transit currently has tokens that are equivalent to a one-way fare, as well as semester and  yearly passes for students.  Stop by our office to purchase or call 605-642-6668 for more information.
What happens if I have to cancel my ride, or my appointment changes?
Call the dispatch center at 605-642-6668 (or toll-free 1-877-673-3687) at least one hour in advance, or as soon as you know of the change. If you need to cancel a ride after the dispatch office has closed, call 642-6668 and leave a message (clearly stating rider name, the scheduled pickup date and time, your contact phone number and your desire to cancel the ride. For rescheduling a ride, contact dispatch during business hours).
Can I ride to Rapid City?
Yes. Prairie Hills Transit has service from the Northern Hills as well as from Southern Hills communities to and from Rapid City for medical trips, shopping or social trips. Schedules vary by town and by day. See the schedules page or call the dispatch center for more information at 605-642-6668, or toll-free 1-877-673-3687.
Can I get a ride to church on Sundays?
Prairie Hills Transit has service on Sundays in Spearfish, as well as having Sunday service hours in Deadwood and Lead.  Rides must be scheduled before 3 p.m. Friday while a dispatcher is available to take the call to ensure you are on that Sunday’s pickup schedule. Pick-up times will depend on how many riders there are and what time church services are held. Call 605-642-6668 for details on which towns offer rides on Sundays.
Are there seatbelts?
Yes, on all of our vehicles except the trolley.
What if weather cancels service?
Prairie Hills Transit notifies local media (radio, television, websites and newspapers) of any weather cancellations. Check closure listings or call the office at 642-6668 if you have questions about service. 
Do buses run on holidays?
Prairie Hills Transit is closed on New Year’s Day, Memorial Day, July 4, Labor Day, Thanksgiving Day and Christmas Day. Due to the critical needs of dialysis patients with regularly scheduled appointments, however, Prairie Hills Transit operates for that purpose on occasional holidays when dialysis centers are open.
Do buses run 24 hours a day/7 days a week?
No.  Hours vary by town.  (See Service Area for the county in question.)
How many people can the buses hold?
Vehicles range from 6-passenger vans to 24-passenger buses, and depend on how many riders have mobility devices. 
Who is eligible to ride on group shopping trips?
Anyone is eligible, as long as rides are scheduled in advance.  By grouping shopping rides to the same locations, Prairie Hills Transit, a nonprofit organization, is able to keep its expenses at a minimum in order to provide additional services such as for medical appointments and other transportation needs … for all generations for years to come.
Are pets allowed on the bus?
Yes, as long as they are contained in a pet carrier. Service animals are permitted to accompany individuals with disabilities.
What if I miss my scheduled pick-up time?  Will the driver come back for me?
Bus operators will wait 3 minutes past the scheduled pick-up time before leaving without the passenger.  If you have an unexpected delay, call dispatch as soon as possible to make new arrangements, subject to availability.
How is public transportation funded?
Prairie Hills Transit is a nonprofit organization that receives partial funding from state, local and federal grants.  Other operating income is from passenger fares, donations, and in-kind contributions.  Each community is responsible for raising a local-match percentage in order to qualify for state and federal funds. And PHT is a United Way Agency.
Donations are essential for continuation of the transportation service program. Provide someone with transportation today by donating to PHT. 
If you have additional questions, contact us by phone at 605-642-6668; by mail at 2015 Tumble Weed Trail, Spearfish, SD 57783; or by e-mail at ljohnson@prairiehillstransit.com.
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