TARC Board Approves Revised Plan To Balance Budget

by Rick Howlett on March 22, 2010

The Transit Authority of River City’s board of directors on Monday agreed to move forward with a plan aimed at reducing a $5.5 million revenue shortfall while preserving many of the bus routes originally slated for elimination.

But the board may also impose a $1 surcharge on all 16 of its express routes to keep them funded.

Officials had originally recommended that TARC cut 20 routes and reduce service on 17 others.

Under the plan approved Monday, four routes would be cut and service would be reduced or combined on 16 others. The board will hold public hearing on the fare hike proposal in April.

TARC Executive Director Barry Barker says he came up with the new recommendations after reviewing some 2,600 comments submitted by riders over the past two weeks.

A press release outlining the board action is below:

Louisville, KY (March 22, 2010) – The TARC Board of Directors today gave its support to a new course of action designed to help TARC make up a projected $5.5 million shortfall and preserve some of the bus routes that had been slated for elimination last month.

TARC Executive Director J. Barry Barker recommended that the board move ahead with 20 of the recommendations he made on Feb. 22. Those include four route eliminations and 16 routes that are slated for service reductions or routing changes. Those changes are expected to save about $2.5 million annually and will take effect on June 6.

However, the elimination of 12 of 16 express routes that was proposed last month was put on hold while TARC explores the feasibility of making up part of the shortfall by adding $1 additional fare on all express routes and reducing rather than eliminating service on some of them. Barker also recommended combining Routes #12 Twelfth Street and #22 Twenty-second Street, both of which had been proposed for elimination.

“Folks have spent a lot of energy and time telling us how we can save some of these services,” said Barker, referring to the 2,600 comments received by TARC over the past two weeks. “We are going to do everything we can to keep these routes, and preserve as many jobs as we possibly can.”

Barker recommended holding off on changes to the Fourth Street Trolley while funding options are considered. Changes to Routes #29 Eastern Parkway, #75 Bluegrass Circulator and #77 Main-Market Trolley were also put on hold.

The final decision is scheduled to be made on the remaining service changes at the next board meeting on April 26. Public hearings will be scheduled in April on the proposed fare increase for express routes.

“The difficult challenge is that we are struggling financially at the same time that public transportation has got to expand,” said Board Chairman Cedric Merlin Powell. “We are looking at ways to maintain service as efficiently and effectively as we can.”

Barker’s recommendation was to eliminate the following four routes:

#80 Hurstbourne Parkway
#59 River Road
#35 Indian Trail
#58 Bashford Manor/Oxmoor.

The following 13 routes will see service reductions effective June 6:

#2 Second Street
#4 Fourth Street
#6 Sixth Street
#15 Market Street
#17 Bardstown Road
#19 Muhammad Ali
#21 Chestnut Street
#25 Oak Street
#27 Hill Street
#31 Middletown
#52 Medical Center Circulator
#55 Westport Road
#72 Clarksville-New Albany.

Four routes will have routing changes: #17 Bardstown Road, #18 Preston-18th Street; #23 Broadway and #62 Breckenridge-Shepherdsville. One of those changes is to ensure that Shalom Towers on Dutchmans Lane will continue to have service. It will be served by the #23 Broadway route instead of the #58 Bashford Manor/Oxmoor.

At the Feb. 22 board meeting, the following express routes were proposed for elimination:

#37X – Iroquois-Fairdale Express
#38X – Deering Express
#45X – Okolona Express
#49X – Westport Road Express
#50X – Dixie Express
#53X – Breckenridge Express
#54X – Manslick Express
#61X – Plainview Express
#64X – Fincastle-Forest Springs Express
#66X – Mount Washington Express
#68X – Prospect Express
#73X – Charlestown Road Express

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