Raising Bus Rates Upset Lubbock Citibus Users - KCBD NewsChannel 11 Lubbock

12/3/02

Raising Bus Rates Upset Lubbock Citibus Users

"Ya'll don't care about the handicap. You don't care period," says Citibus user Thearl Gaddis.

Gaddis rides the bus everyday. He can't walk and this is his only means of transportation.

"I go to activities, hockey games," he says.

But Thearl says he's worried he won't be able to afford the bus anymore.

"See, if you can get a bus, this is what we have to go through everyday of our lives, all ya'll have to do is get in the car and go," says Thearl.

You see, starting January 13th, a trip on the bus at night will cost $5 when it used to cost only $3. And Thearl says, the two extra dollars will add up.

"If they got to pay $10 out of their wages, and they're working four hour a day, which is what most of them do, they got to pay half of that to rides," says Thearl.

But Citibus General Manager John Wilson calls Tuesday's decision a generous compromise considering the amount of money the company has lost recently. Vinyl wrap advertisements help fund the evening service. In September, Citibus lost vinyl wrap ads on five buses, and this set them back $60,000.

"When we went over 200,000 population, we lost federal funds cause we went into a new category. What that meant was instead of getting $3.1 million, we're only getting $2.4 million. That's $700,000 in lost federal funding," Wilson says.

Citibus also lost $300,000 in state funding. Wilson says after cutting costs, including nine positions at Citibus, this was the final attempt to make ends meet and keep the evening service.

By the way, Citibus says the budget for the evening service is not supported by city funds. If you ride the bus before 6:40 at night, the $2 fee will remain the same. After 6:40 p.m., the rate will increase to $5, starting January 13th.

Here's some perspective, a bus ride from downtown to Texas Tech and to the mall will cost someone about $10 round trip. The same route in a cab costs about $24.

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