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The Daily Tar Heel

Proposed bus changes a concern for some residents

Chapel Hill Transit hosted two forums Monday at the Chapel Hill Bible Church to explain proposed cuts to public transit and receive community feedback.

The department expects a $1.4 million shortfall in revenue compared to projected expenses next year, a deficit they hope to combat by reorganizing bus routes and eliminating feeder and shared ride services.

Most concerns raised by community members in attendance were about the proposed elimination of the Shared Ride Feeder service. The service picks up town residents living a quarter mile away or more from a bus stop and transports them to the nearest stop.

Transit director Stephen Spade said the cost of running the seldom used Shared-Ride service, which runs between bus stops during non-operating hours, is not being covered by the $3 fare.

“Essentially we are running a cab service for nothing,” said Spade.

Susan Houston said she uses the service to get from her house on Morgan Creek Road to her job at UNC. Without it, she would have to cross the highly trafficked Fordham Boulevard to reach the nearest bus stop.

“It is very frustrating to be in the city limits, to be that close to campus, and not have a bus service,” said Houston. 

“Without the feeder service we have no access to the bus service.”

Other proposed changes include reducing the frequency of many bus routes and eliminating the M route that travels to the main branch of the Chapel Hill library.

Houston and others in attendance offered suggestions like redirecting existing bus routes and creating carpools to provide transportation for bus riders potentially affected by the cuts.

Sophomore Abraham Jaroszewski said he came to the forum to learn how the route he uses to get to campus, the F route, would be affected by the changes. He said he also came to offer ideas and suggestions from the perspective of a regular bus rider.

Spade said the transit department has received suggestions via e-mail in addition to those given at the forums.

“Maybe somebody will think about something we haven’t thought about,” said Spade. “You always want to hear if someone else has a better idea than you.” 

He said these forums also allowed them to see if and how they are effecting different neighborhoods and demographics.

Spade said he hopes to compile all the suggestions from residents and make any additional recommendations to the town manager by May 25. 

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