Litchfield said buses breaking down while serving customers used to be a rarity for the department, but now it's common for many of his mechanics to be out servicing buses on the road.
"Every other day, we’re experiencing something like that," he said.
The town council discussed ways it could begin addressing its bus stops — many of which are falling into disrepair.
"If people feel like they’re second-class citizens standing in the middle of a mud patch waiting for a bus, then some won’t take the bus," said Councilwoman Donna Bell. "And others are going to resent taking the bus."
While she believes bus stops are key to maintaining strong ridership, Bell said she believes local organizations might be willing to help maintain certain bus stops.
Stancil said the town was able to balance the transit budget without dipping into any reserve funds. But while the proposed budget includes provisions for financing new buses, it does not allocate money for major capital repairs like fixing buses or stops.
Some members of the town council questioned whether the proposed budget — which doesn't include a tax increase for Chapel Hill residents — properly addresses the town's transit needs.
"I’m happy we’re not raising taxes," said Councilwoman Maria Palmer. "But if we’re not addressing some needs that are critical, and we lose ridership because we can’t see that ... I want to tell people it’s either/or. I want the ugly truth if we need to hear it."
The town council is in the middle of developing it's budget for the new fiscal year. It will hold a public hearing on the budget on May 19 and it is scheduled to adopt the budget June 9.
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