Public Transportation System Could Be Cutting Back On Rides

By: Amanda Price Email
By: Amanda Price Email

Gas prices are now 4.13 a gallon in parts of eastern Kentucky and public transportation systems are taking a second look at their budgets and how to cut costs.

For one eastern Kentucky system, it means stopping daily service.

Those not able to drive themselves, have no family in the area, or are struggling financially...whatever the reason, Pikeville Transit riders say they rely on the shuttle.

The problem is that only a few ride it everyday.

“We looked at the ridership on a daily basis, again locally for the money going into it, it just doesn't look feasible,” Pikeville City Manager, Donovan Blackburn said.

Blackburn says it takes over 80 thousand dollars to run the shuttle system with the city paying a little under half, and Sandy Valley paying the rest.

“We had to go again and look at how we are going to invest our dollars in what programs will get the maximum return and understanding this because of the rider-ship this just wasn't one of them,” Blackburn said.

Blackburn says the city and Sandy Valley discussed running the shuttles one day a week.

He says with that possibility, the city would want the transportation service to use the money they make from the city owned garage to pay for the service.

Sandy Valley wants the city to help pay for half the costs for the one day service.

So far, officials haven't reached an agreement.

Sandy Valley Transportation service officials say there are just not enough people riding to keep the service running.

WYMT’s Amanda Price spoke with riders that say this shuttle is a vital part of their everyday life.

“You can't do that, you know, it's going to be hard on all of us,” Virgie Howell said.

“I think they need to put it back on two days a week, two trips a day like we asked for before and I believe we can all get along with that,” Charley Cole said.

Riders say a regular but limited route would increase rider-ship at those times, making the service worth it for everyone.

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