Monday, October 26, 2009

Orange County Bus Riders Cry Out For Relief

These are tough times for public transit. The recession means less local tax money is coming in. The State of California has also drastically cut back its support for transit, in an effort to balance its budget while maintaining low taxes for middle and upper income voters. As a result, transit agencies have some tough choices to make: raise fares, cut service, or both.

The Orange County Transportation Authority (OCTA) recently did some public outreach to see which method of cutting back bus service people preferred. They got back at least 36 pages of comments which they posted on their website (with names removed).

Without more money from riders or another level of government, these cuts will go into effect in March 2010. Here is a flavor of what some people thought:

"I depend on the bus service to run all my errands like going to the doctor, work, the store. In the end its my tranportation for everything."

"I can't walk very well and depend on the bus to get to work. My social services can not drive me and I need to make money. My boyfriend can't walk or drive. This is scary. What would we do? Please limit any more reductions to service. There has already been a lot."

"As a mother of a disabled young adult who has relied on OCTA services because he is unable to drive, I have grave concerns about the proposed reduction in OCTA transportation services."

"Things are hard enough on your seniors without making it harder for them to get around."

Without question, transit cuts hurt some of the most vulnerable people in society.

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