SL Twp. residents deserve a chance to vote on transit

Pick up the phone, and a short time later, a ride comes to your front door. That’s the benefit residents in the City of Grand Haven, Grand Haven Township, Ferrysburg and Spring Lake Village have with the Harbor Transit bus service.
Jun 19, 2014


The bus system operates in these communities — plus Lloyds Bayou Senior Complex, Heartwood Lodge, Oakcrest Manor and Orchard Foods in Spring Lake Township — whisking people away to medical appointments, shopping trips, school and work.

And there is talk of an expanded service to include all those in Spring Lake Township.

Harbor Transit officials recently attended a Spring Lake Township Board meeting and pitched their plan; however, the reception wasn’t as warm as might be expected.

Some on the board questioned the need for the service in the township, noting the lack of a large retailer like Meijer or Wal-Mart to send people to. Others wondered whether residents would support another tax since there are other ballot initiatives up for a vote in November.

Despite these reservations, we think expansion of Harbor Transit into the township is a logical next step.

The Township Board should cast aside their reservations and give voters the final say on this issue. They are the ones who would eventually utilize the service.

There are countless residents — from senior citizens to children to those who need a ride to work — who could rely on Harbor Transit. Despite all having different governing bodies, Northwest Ottawa County is essentially one community, and a bus service that serves everyone seems logical.

Residents as far south of Grand Haven Township should have the opportunity to get to a place in Spring Lake Township, and vice versa.

A good transit system linking all of the region’s communities could also be key to enticing new businesses and residents to the area.

It’s unfortunate township officials didn’t hop on board when talk began of expanding the service into both Spring Lake and Grand Haven townships back in 2010. Let’s hope Spring Lake Township officials hitch a ride now and give voters an opportunity to decide.

Our Views reflects the majority opinion of the members of the Grand Haven Tribune editorial board: Kevin Hook, Cheryl Welch, Matt DeYoung, Alex Doty and Fred VandenBrand. What do you think? E-mail us a letter to the editor to or log-in to our website and leave a comment below.




School bonds, yearly water and sewer increases, the library, Harbor Transit, Spring Lake Board, Bike Path, Tri City Museum and of course everyone wants new fire halls built. It won't be long before nobody can afford to live in this area.


You must understand how some officials and local residents look at it, with the higher property taxes, the less those who are unemployed, or under employed can afford to live here. Maybe even keeping some of the less desirable away?


I'd like to make one correction to the article....the statement about "pick up the phone-short time later the ride comes to your front door". The one error in this is "short time later". Speak to the many Seniors who use this service in the Village and you'll hear the overwhelming truth that many wait more than one hour for their ride to arrive-this not including the time it takes to get to their destination. Seniors having to wait as long as 1.5 hours only to have to make multiple calls to have an estimated time of arrival. It appears that a lack of buses and FT drivers is resulting in poor wait times. If it expands to the SL Township, that will only further exacerbate the continued, unresolved problem. I'd like to see the Tribune interview the SL Seniors to hear their side. Or as Paul Harvey would say "and now...the rest of the story."


I totally agree, the balance must be made and logically reviewed over the economic and environmental cost. For how many empty buses do you see daily in the Village of Spring Lake, sure once the bus drops off the one or two passengers. They return to Grand Haven, or to another pick-up, it does seem that there is some waste in the public service. Including two or more empty buses at the same location, and time, the service is needed, however there is much to be corrected.


Sshh,Curious. It's a sales pitch. They'll find out soon enough.


The attitude i hear is why not just close the system down, it just don't matter, send the less fortunate north


Check out all the passengers on these buses,if you see more than 3 passenegrs any one time you would be amazed,it would be chaeper to hire rose bud taxi,however I think the buses put them outta business.

Harry Kovaire

GH Township residents deserved a vote on this topic as well. Instead, we had a gun held to our heads in the form of a combined "Transportation Millage." The GHT Supervisors held our road repairs hostage to their pet public transportation project. Some choice, no bus - no roads.

Now we have near-empty Harbor Transit coaches cruising the area with two people in them and taxes another mill higher. It worked for the the little bus empire down here. They should try it in SLT as well.

In a few years, after they connect SL to Muskegon, they will be after you to pay for all the new Transportation Police to manage the thugs coming down to shop in your neighborhoods.


People in some areas of SL just walk down the street to Ferrysburg, and pick up the bus there. SL needs to participate - both for the benefit of their citizens, and to be fair to the communities that ARE paying their fair share of transit costs.


I have stated on previous story,s, that everyone could benefit, only if they allow the routes to expand, once you do that, people may decide to depend on the system and it will grow, if some board members look forward in to the future, this area is expanding repeatedly, just make good buisness sense

Tri-cities realist

Do you own or run a business?

deuce liti

Yes, happy camper does, and it is apparent they are sampling their own product.

Tri-cities realist

Apparently so.

Happy Resident

I would not use it personally just yet but see a real need for those who do need a safe, reliable and cost effective means of public transportation. I have moved here from a meto area and cannot believe there are no public transportation options for such a great community. The Harbor Transit must be doing something right if they have been here this long and willing to work with such a challenging Township for several years. It is sad that the same people that we have voted into office refuse to look at the greater good of our community and then not to allow us our own right to vote. Something is wrong here and it is not bringing the "wrong" crowd here, it is our own township board's views and opinions reflecting on us. Let us vote and have the Harbor Transit assist our community to be connected to so many great resources and services.


"Some on the board questioned the need for the service in the township, noting the lack of a large retailer like Meijer or Wal-Mart to send people to."

Maybe they should think in reverse. Being a residential community, there are people who may need to GO to retailers like Meijer or Wal-Mart. Why not put it on the ballot this fall and let the voters decide. What are you afraid of?

And, as for the "short time later the ride comes to your door" comment - Harbor Transit is nothing more than a discount (read: Subsidized) taxi service. The reason it's always losing money and in need of subsidies is that it goes door to door, rather than running on routes. I realize routes would be difficult to make work, but the door to door service for a couple bucks is what's killing their budget. It probably costs about that much in gas & maintenance on the bus - PLUS you have to pay the driver, dispatch, mechanics, etc. So, either it needs to be subsidized like it is, meaning taxpayer supported, or it needs to switch to routes. Can't have it both ways.


Exactly. Finally somebody here "GETS IT". Establish a designated route service here instead of having to wait to be picked up. This town would only need maybe tops 4 or 5 line haul buses. They could print up schedules available to the public where you would know where to stand to get picked up at a certain time. Muskegon and Grand Rapids have been doing this for years. Their buses are also equipped to handle people with disabilities as well. This door to door service is way antiquated and as far as I'm concerned a joke. Nothing more than a glorified taxi service. Muskegon does have what they call the "GO BUS" service that is very much like this door to door service as well. But it is designed for those who are physically handicapped and needing to go to doctor appointments and such. The drivers have an itinerary they go by every A.M. of who they are going to pick up and what time and where they are going and what the charges will be. Harbor Transit you are soooooooooooo way behind the times it isn't even funny...anymore. You'd need fewer dispatchers too.


The Harbor Transit is the biggest joke of all in this area. Yea it's all well and good the door to door service and all. But who wants to wait until the next millennium to get picked up? And what's with all these school kids on the buses? Don't Grand Haven Area Public Schools provide FREE transportation for them? It's ridiculous that grown adults with or without handicaps have to compete with them. They should not be allowed to ride the buses. That's why GHAPS has a bus service that you're already paying taxes for it. This area makes about as much sense as a screen door on a submarine. Wake up call here; THIS IS 2014 NOT 1914 Harbor Transit. Why does this area NOT have a public line haul bus service like many towns do. Where a customer can merely stand on a corner and wait for a scheduled bus to ride through. This town would only need say 3 - 4 line haul buses if that to provide this service. Harbor Transit could print up schedules of the routes so that the general public would know where to stand and what time to be able to catch one of these buses. NO MORE WAITING ON A PHONE AND PLACED IN A QUEUE anymore waiting for a dispatcher to take your call. Again; RIDICULOUS. This is such an antiquated/counterproductive bus service here I cannot believe it some times. You can bad mouth Muskegon all you want, which seems to be the usual rant about that town here, but their public transit system there is second to none. Harbor Transit is nothing more than a glorified taxi service. Get with the TIMES Harbor Transit. You're nothing but a dime store joke to me.


Did you ever think the children on those busses are going to daycare after school and not home?


Obviously you DO NOT ride the Harbor Transit. I've seen where they are being dropped and it's at their homes not at any daycare centers. YOU totally missed the point I was making. There are refresher courses in reading comprehension. You should enroll in one asap.


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