Pierce Transit board members voted in January to cut 34 percent of the area’s public transportation services by September.
In a 6-2 vote, the board began constructing a plan to reduce services by a total of 53 percent in order to remain financially stable.
These reductions in services include eliminating holiday and weekend services, and most mid-day route services will be effected but not as severe as previously predicted last year.
Student and regular commuter Lydia Craven said these reductions in service are a terrible idea.
“As an avid bus rider I feel it’s a horrible idea that Pierce Transit has to cut what I would consider a cheap, helpful and necessary service,” Craven said. “Cutting service on the weekends and holidays is only going to have a negative impact on our community and those who regularly use public transportation on the weekends.”
No changes will be made to event services, which would have been restored if the proposition had been passed in November.
These changes in service were approved after voters rejected Proposition 1 by 704 votes in the last general election. This proposition would have gradually improved Pierce Transit services for the next four years.
As a result, total service hours were reduced from 419,000 to 197,000, which would have increased to 515,000 total hours by 2017 if the Proposition had passed.
“I think it’s a terrible idea that Pierce Transit is making these cuts in light of everyone who uses their service to get to work or school,” student John Catchpole said. “Not a lot of people can afford to buy a car and rely on the bus as their only means of transportation.”
The problem many voters apparently had with Proposition 1 was the additional three-tenths of the 1 percent sales tax. That meant every $10 spent, nine cents would have gone toward the Pierce Transit agency.
Annual service hour cuts range from 32.5 percent, if set up in June, to 36 percent if the board decides to hold off until February 2014.
According to Pierce Transit’s Chief Executive Officer Lynne Griffith, the board veered toward the idea of cuts being made come June because of the 7,000 service hours it would save.
Doug Middleton, Pierce Transit’s vice president of operations, said the agency will be 30 to 40 drivers short in September considering the rate of drivers leaving who don’t have seniority or job security.
Pierce Transit has already begun making cuts that will eventually lead to the 53 percent of service cuts required if they’re to stay in business.
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