MTA considers temporarily cutting service as financial issues loom
By Andrew Keller, Multimedia Journalist - bio | email
FLINT, MI (WNEM) -
Loss of revenue this winter, combined with fewer property tax funds and high fuel prices, are causing officials with the Mass Transportation Authority in Genesee County to consider changes to services it provides.
The MTA is dealing with a budget shortfall near $400,000.
On Tuesday night, those who depend on the service gave officials at the MTA an earful.
"It's not a whim. It's not a hobby. It's for people to get to and from work. It's for people to take care of their children and family members," said Audrey Gaia-Paix, who uses the buses daily.
"Live on our budget, and maybe you'll understand," said another rider.
The MTA's plan for cutting expenses calls for a temporary reduction in service from June 24 to Oct. 1. Bus route service will end at 6:30 p.m., rather than 9:30 p.m.
After 6:30 p.m., the MTA will provide the Your Ride service, which is equivalent to a public transportation taxi, for those who have doctors appointments, work or school. There will also be fewer buses operating during the day.
"It's going to hurt the entire city," said one rider Tuesday night.
Ed Benning, the general manager of MTA, said the changes are needed to keep this service on its feet.
"It's clear to me we need to go to the community to find some way to help us, and long-term needs for public transit are only going to continue to grow," said Benning.
The MTA Board of Directors will decide at i's meeting on Thursday at 8 a.m. whether it will make the service changes. The meeting will be held at MTA headquarters.
Meanwhile, a millage renewal to maintain funding for the MTA will be on the August ballot. But as the need increases, TV5 is told a new millage could be up for a vote in November.
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