TOLEDO (WTOL) - Earlier on Thursday, TARTA’s board voted in favor of the eight percent cuts to service.
In an unanticipated move, TARTA also proposed rate hikes. These changes are leaving many who rely on their services without a ride.
“Worst public policy decision I’ve seen in a decade. A TARTA public transportation system people don’t trust right now, don’t think works well, just got worse, not better,” Lucas County Commissioner, Pete Gerken said about the vote,
TARTA said, financially, they’re in a pinch.
In order to save money, they’re eliminating service on Sundays, holidays, a couple of routes in the Sylvania area and the earliest and latest routes.
This effects thousands in our community like Susan Burton, who takes the buses for day-to-day tasks like clothing and grocery shopping and visiting places like nursing homes and hospitals.
“I’m really very sad about the situation, because there’s other people. Not everybody gets a day off Saturday and Sunday, they’re working people. Where are they going to go? What are they going to do now?" Burton asked.
The board also decided Thursday that they’ll consider raising rates from $1.25 to $1.50 at their next meeting in March.
On top of that, they're looking into putting a levy on the ballot next November.
The past two years, TARTA’s levy attempts have failed.
“You can’t charge enough of a fare from enough passengers to basically offset the issue that we have. Our root issue is we have a property tax that has been at the same millage since 1987, and additionally, that property tax has dropped by 30% or 5 to 6 million dollars since 2009," General Manager of TARTA, James Gee said.
Those working retail jobs, and who normally take the bus to worship on Sundays are among a group of Toledoans who may be without a ride.
In fact, a city survey shows at least 700 people are now going to lose their ability to get to and from work; a devastating blow to the city’s workforce development initiative.
"I've already talked with some of the board members. There are a few that descented, and we thank them for their courageous descent. But let's think about this, public. Bad service before we started, worse service now, and you've got to pay more for it. Come on TARTA, you've got to do better than this,” exclaimed Gerken.
Service cuts are set to begin January 6.