Regional Transit Avoids Controversial Service Cuts

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(Sacramento, CA)
Tuesday, August 11, 2009
By: Steffi Broski and Ben Adler

Two weeks ago, officials proposed eliminating light rail trains after 9 p.m. and reducing service on 36 bus routes. Many busses would have stopped running before
6 a.m. and after 8 p.m. The public didn’t like it. And neither did elected officials. Sacramento City Councilman Steve Cohn, who chairs the RT board, says now is not the time to cut.
“In the midst of this very bad downturn in the economy, we’re still seeing ridership at record levels, even with gas prices having gone down.”
But RT has been scrambling to deal with a loss of $50 million in state funding and sales tax revenue. General Manager Mike Wiley says they’ve managed to come up with $3.5 dollars necessary to avoid the latest cuts.
“Combined, over 33 percent of our budget has disappeared. And we have been able to maintain our services in the face of that.”
Well, not exactly…previously approved service cuts will kick in next month. And RT is also relying on raising fares from $2 a ride to $2.50. Wiley says as of now, he’s not planning any layoffs.