Minnesota Department of Transportation

511 Travel Info

Transit in Minnesota

Wadena County Transit but

Rural Transit Assistance Program

About the program

The Rural Transit Assistance Program (RTAP) is a training, technical assistance and outreach program funded by the Federal Transit Administration as part of the Section 5311 Formula Grants for Rural Areas program. The purpose of the MnRTAP is to foster the safe and effective delivery of rural public transit through provision of training and technical assistance to operators in rural areas.

In Minnesota, RTAP funds are used to provide required training for transit staff such as: passenger assistance, defensive driving and maltreatment awareness, and driver refresher training. RTAP funds also provide additional workshops and conference for operators, transit middle and upper managers that provide best-practices, creative solutions and information on critical issues and trends several times a year.

The purpose of the RTAP Scholarship Program is to help offset some of the costs associated with attending training programs in order to encourage and further the development of the skills and abilities of those persons involved in transit in rural areas. Eligible training includes courses, seminars, workshops and conferences with subject matter specifically related to the transit industry. Training can be in-house, in-state or out-of-state. 

RTAP Advisory Committee

The RTAP Advisory Committee was established to enable Minnesota’s non-urbanized transit representatives to provide ongoing review and comment on the state’s program development and delivery. The Advisory committee consists of eight voting members: the MPTA President or designated Executive Board liaison and the MnDOT Office of Transit Director or designate. The remaining six members proportionately represent FTA sub recipient from Section 5310 (Elderly and Disabled) and Section 5311 (Public Transit), and Section 5307 (Public Transit - Large Urban).

The RTAP Advisory Committee will meet quarterly or sooner, if the need arises.


Any transit agency or organization funded through FTA Sections 5310, 5311, and tribal recipients and administered by the Office of Transit, is eligible to participate in RTAP-sponsored activities. Small urban providers funded through FTA Section 5307 are eligible to participate in RTAP sponsored activities which are primarily designed and delivered to benefit non-urban providers.

Special Transportation Service

STS requirements and trainings

MnDOT RTAP Coordinator schedules STS Train the Trainer Classes at least once a year.

Becoming STS certified:

The trainer has to complete MnDOT-approved Train the Trainer classes:

  • Passenger Assistance
  • Maltreatment Awareness
  • Defensive Driving, Coaching the Van Driver
  • First Aid (optional)

After completing the classes:

  1. The individual fills out the STS Trainer & Training Course Approval Application, then sends this into the Office of Freight and Commercial Vehicle Operations for approval.
  2. Once approved, it is the trainer’s responsibility to obtain training materials for the courses they are certifying for.

For First Aid, the individual needs to be a certified First Aid instructor. Trainers need to obtain the correct courses and attend the trainings to be able to teach.

  • NOTE: Documentation is not needed for OFCVO to approve a STS certification, except First Aid certifications.
Renewal of STS certification:

Every 3 years from the date of the driver-completed training, the minimum requirements are to complete:

  • A four-hour refresher first aid or emergency-care course, which must include instruction in the elements listed in subpart 4;§
  • Two hours of classroom instruction in defensive driving (except for attendants)
  • Two hours of training in issues relating to passenger assistance and abuse prevention
  • Eleven hours of continuing education related to providing special transportation service

Once these classes are complete:

  1. The individual fill out the STS Trainer & Training Course Approval Application for renewal, then sends this into the Office of Freight and Commercial Vehicle Operations for approval
  2. Once approved, the individual can continue to be STS certified

Visit the training page for information on current offerings.


Harinee Iyengar