This would be a total disaster to Leah and me if it were to happen in Guelph. Neither of us drive and are totally dependent on the excellent mass transit in Guelph. Fortunately, the economic crunch in the 'States hasn't really hit Canada yet (Canadian dollar is almost on a par with the U.S. at the moment).
Riders, many disabled, protest bus service cuts Bus riders concerned about 'loss of independence' if lines are cut.
ORANGE – Dozens of riders – many of them disabled young adults – packed a meeting today to protest cuts in bus service.
The Orange County Transportation Authority plans to cut as many as 400,000 hours next year in response to a loss of $272 million in transit revenue over the next five years.
The transit agency is looking to cut about 22 percent of its service by dropping bus lines, reducing the frequency of service and limiting the hours of bus routes.
Many of the protesters complained of a loss of independence, a fear of losing their jobs, and not being able to get to school.
”For the past few weeks, we’ve been gathering feedback – it’s been very humbling and very difficult,” said Ellen Burton, an OCTA executive. “We’re talking about a population that is very reliant on public transit.”
About 53 percent of riders use the bus to get to and from work during the week.
The students – from Saddleback Unified School District’s adult education transitional program – said they use the bus to travel to work, school, and other activities mostly in South County.
Several of the young adults – mostly between 18 and 22 years old -- carried neon-colored signs with the bus route numbers they were most concerned with.
The OCTA has struggled for months with budgetary problems – stemming from a $214-million loss in sales tax revenue dedicated for transportation and the loss of $99 million from the state’s transit assistance fund.
So far this year, OCTA has laid off bus drivers, raised fares and has already cut service hours.
OCTA staff will take comments from today's public hearing and return at a June 8 meeting with recommendations on how they believe service should be cut.