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> Late bus service to end soon in City
Southsider2k12
post Sep 17 2010, 09:02 AM
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http://www.wndu.com/localnews/headlines/103012404.html

QUOTE
Early morning, evening bus service ending in Michigan City
Michigan City, IN
A federal grant that paid for extra service will run out on September 30 and Michigan City cannot afford to continue the service.
Posted: 9:53 PM Sep 15, 2010
Reporter: Brandon Lewis

Michigan City expanded its bus service in 2007 with a $250,000 grant from the Federal Transportation Administration. It allowed the city to add service between 5:30 a.m and 6:30 a.m as well as 6:30 p.m. and 9:30 p.m. as an experiment to increase ridership.

"That grant expires on September 30th of this year it did what we had hoped to do. We believe that people were able to get to work that weren't able to before, so we had new job opportunities and shopping opportunities," said Mayor Chuck Oberlie, who said the city paid $50,000 of its own money into the extra service.

Nearly 30,000 trips are taken each year during the expanded hours, but does not produce enough money to be self sustaining.

With the money running out, riders like Margaret Picur will have to find alternate transportation. Picur submitted a petition with 100 signatures to the city, but was unable to persuade them to keep the service.

"I'm concerned about the people that work at night that depend on the bus. There are a lot that don't have vehicles and they do depend on the bus service and I would like Michigan City to have bus service at night," said Picur.

Picur works at Meijer and will be able to continue riding the bus to and from work, but knows of other workers who are out of luck. She also said she worries Meijer may change her schedule, forcing her to walk three miles to work.

Other evening bus riders share her concerns.

"It's about a 45 minute walk for me, but I got to make it to work, so I don't know what I'm going to do about it," said Billy Morgan, who relies on the evening bus to get to work.

Eleven staff members at Michigan City Transit will loose their jobs at the end of the month.

"The grant itself provided for the salaries of the assistant director, secretary and I believe eight part time drivers. All those positions will be eliminated at the end of the month," said Oberlie.

According to Oberlie the extra buses only generated about $21,000, which is nowhere near the $300,000 needed to keep the buses running.

"It's not something we're closing the door on, we'll continue to look for additional funds. There have been opportunities for additional subsidies and as we go forward we'll peruse all those and if we can make those happen we would like to act," said Oberlie.

He added when the extra service began in 2007 there was not a 24/7 taxi service in the city. Currently there are two companies. Oberlie acknowledged while a taxi would be more expensive, there are options available to those without vehicles.
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