Temporary Hours Change

Starting Monday, May 4th, 2020, in coordination with Wadena County Public Health, Friendly Rider’s hours for Dispatching are Monday – Friday 8:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Service is closed on Saturdays.

Here to get you there


Since 2003, Friendly Rider has provided public transportation to North Central Minnesota. We serve Wadena, Otter Tail, Todd, and Morrison Counties. We connect people with their community, for work, school, shopping, appointments and more— making North Central Minnesota a better place to live.

Funding for Friendly Rider is provided by the State of Minnesota and riders like you!

                         Friendly Rider logo

Thanks to Friendly Rider, my mom who is legally blind and unable to drive is still able to live independently in her house. 

~a concerned daughter living far away from her mom


From our Director, Randy Jahnke

Hello, fellow Riders!

As a Community native, it's great to work and serve in the communities I grew up in.

Public transportation is important everywhere, but it's vital in smaller, rural areas such as ours. Many people in our area rely on public transportation for employment, for medical care and treatment, and to complete daily errands. Regardless of the reason they ride, we are proud to serve our community. 

Friendly Rider has grown over the last few years. Our ridership is up, our service area has expanded, and we now operate for more days and times. This is great for our residents and our ability to serve them.

But our journey isn't done yet! Look for me visiting LOCAL towns, LOCAL groups...seeing you the LOCAL people informing everyone the benefits of Transportation in your area.

Do you have questions or concerns about riding the bus? Do you have suggestions how we can serve you better? Please let us know! You can contact us here on our website or by calling our office. 

I look forward to seeing you on the bus!

Randy Jahnke

Our Staff

Friendly Rider buses cover a lot of ground each and every day. Behind the scenes, a small group of dedicated employees works hard to make sure things run smoothly for our riders. Based in Wadena, MN, Friendly Rider employs a total of 20 people: a director, a coordinator, 3 dispatchers, and 15 bus drivers. 

As a Dial-A-Ride system, Friendly Rider's dispatch is available each day to answer questions and to schedule ride requests. The dispatch team communicates continuously with drivers and residents. 

George FR Dispatch (2)
Friendly Rider Driver and Bus

Our Drivers

You can feel good about riding with Friendly Rider. Our bus drivers have passed extensive training and background checks  - and they enjoy driving their buses!

Drivers have earned CDL class C minimum licensure with passenger endorsement.  Friendly Rider verifies driving records and background checks both at hire and annually during employment. Our drivers are required to attend National Rural Assistance Program training at hire for passenger assistance, maltreatment awareness, defensive driving, and wheelchair securement. A refresher course is required every 3 years.  All Friendly Rider employees take part in DOT Drug testing.  In addition, our drivers are trained on pre and post trip inspections and use of necessary electronic equipment (i.e. tablet, cell phone). 


Does your business or organization need a unique way to advertise? Try the bus! Highly visible and always on the go, your ad will get the attention it deserves driving around with us. You also get the added satisfaction of helping to support public transportation services in your local community.

Want more information? Please give us a call at (218) 631-5730. We would be happy to discuss your options and help you decide if advertising on our bus is right for you.


Yes - Friendly Rider accepts donations. We welcome the assistance of the community to help us build our service offerings for area residents. For example, Friendly Rider recently received a donation as part of someone’s will. Using Friendly Rider buses allowed her the mobility she needed to stay in her own home 3 years longer. A true testament to the importance of having public transportation options in our community.

How do we use donations? Most monetary donations are actually used to purchase bus tickets for those in need. We donate bus tickets to various organizations including the Wadena Food Shelf, Operation Empty Stocking, and assisted living facilities.  For more information or to make a donation, please contact our Friendly Rider office at (218) 631-5730.


Friendly Rider buses run according to our posted schedule except on holidays. We are closed on the following days:

New Year's Day 1/1/2020
Martin Luther King Jr Day 1/20/2020
Presidents' Day 2/17/2020
Good Friday 4/10/2020
Easter 4/12/2020
Memorial Day 5/25/2020
Observed Holiday 7/3/2020
Independence Day 7/4/2020
Labor Day 9/7/2020
Veterans' Day 11/11/2020
Thanksgiving Day 11/26/2020
Day After Thanksgiving 11/27/2020
Christmas Eve Day (buses run until noon) 12/24/2020
Christmas Day 12/25/2020