Public transit restructuring after voters renewed millage in Aug - WNEM TV 5

ASKING TOUGH QUESTIONS

Public transit restructuring after voters renewed millage in August

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SAGINAW, MI (WNEM) -

Sylvester Payne answering TV5’s tough questions and yours.

He's the general manager of the STARS bus system serving the Saginaw region.

“It’s a restructuring of the routes,” Payne said. “It’s not exactly an elimination or taking away from anything.”

In August, voters passed a millage to help fund the transportation system, only to learn of a $1.4 million deficit and proposed cuts set to kick in Nov. 1.

Let's take you inside the numbers.

  • Routes reduced from 11 to 6.
  • Hours of operation ending at 6:40 p.m. 
  • Laying 14.5 positions, including 11 bus drivers.

"Well STARS buses are still fine. When we made the appeal to the public to renew the millage i never did say it was going to remain status quo."

Despite the deficit Payne insists the passage of that millage is a good thing, he said the cuts would've been much worse otherwise.

"We would've been looking at actual elimination of days of service not just scaling back on the hours, laying off the employees, and restructuring the routes," Payne said.

Payne said the STARS board voted unanimously for the cuts.  He also said, despite additional meetings later this month, there's no way to reverse the cost cutting measures. 

Payne said he understands riders who voted for the millage are angry, but he urges them to take a wait and see approach.

"They need the patience to go ahead on and let the changes take place. And then if there are any real critical needs we will continue to work and tweak the system to try to make it work for them," Payne said.

Click through the proposed consolidated routes below: Routes 24, 69, 78, and 311.

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