Budget shortfall may put the brakes on van service

September 29, 1992|By Anne Haddad | Anne Haddad,Staff Writer

The county's public transportation system will roll to a stop on Oct. 15 unless the board of directors can find a way to remain solvent in the face of massive budget cuts, said executive director Linda Boyer.

Agency vans provide subsidized rides for those who request them.

Seniors pay $1 each way and are often taken to local senior centers.

A fare of $2 within one town and more for cross-county travel is part of the public service.

"We'll be here until the last dollar," said Mrs. Boyer, who is starting a button-selling campaign.

"If every resident of Carroll County buys a button for $1, it would solve the problem this year," she said.

But Mrs. Boyer acknowledged that the board will need a long-term solution.

The private, non-profit agency has lost business from other agencies that have had to cut transportation dollars in response to state budget problems.

"A good example is the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene.

A year ago, they were paying $1.19 a mile," Mrs. Boyer said.

"They're now paying 86 cents a mile."

The board is considering raising fares, but many of the service's clients have low incomes and couldn't afford an increase, Mrs. Boyer said.

Also, fare increases would be a drop in the bucket; subsidies are what allow any transportation system to operate, she said.

"Transportation doesn't make money," she said.

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