The city will go ahead with plans to take over Thunder Bay's transit service for those with disabilities, despite concerns from the current providers.

The executive director of HAGI transit spoke out against the move, saying it's already difficult to meet the growing demand for bus service among people with physical disabilities. But at its Monday night meeting, council voted to bring the services currently provided by HAGI in-house by January 2014.


HAGI Transit executive director Cal Rankin says he will be watching the city closely as it moves Thunder Bay's para-transit service in-house. (Jeff Walters/CBC)

HAGI executive director Cal Rankin said, even with the city takeover, he'll still be looking out for those who use the service.

"Our task will be to hold council's feet to the fire to ensure that what they said tonight becomes a reality," he said.

Rankin had many questions, asking if the city had a plan.

"Are you going to have more vehicles? They've alluded to a few things in certain documents, but no concrete plans that say ‘we're going to need this many more vans to provide the service to this many more people’."

HAGI board member Dave Koivisto said the city will be able to provide appropriate service if it listens to their concerns.

"We fully will embrace the decision of the council, if the consumer services will be at least maintained, if not improved," he said.

Administration noted the change will save the city $250,000 annually. However, there are start-up costs, with renovations to the transit garage ringing in at more than $1 million.