BILOXI, MS (WLOX) - Some riders say proposed cuts from the Coast Transit Authority are ones they can't afford to lose. CTA presented the plan during a public hearing Monday night at its Biloxi Transit Center. CTA points to a loss of funding as the reason behind the belt-tightening.
For some, it's the changes in route times that could pose problems. The proposed plan calls for changes that could start morning routes later and wrap up evening routes earlier.
The plan also includes the elimination of at least four routes. The two that got riders' attention Monday night was the D'Iberville Express which runs on Saturdays and Sundays and the Beachcomber service to Long Beach.
The CTA Executive Director Kevin Coggin points to a 25 percent cut in local funding for the changes. The number of riders, he says, also played a big part.
"Two of the routes we're proposing to eliminate are carrying one or two people per hour and that's really low; the system average is 10," says Coggin.
Other routes on the list include the Seabee Base and Beachcomber to Casino Row. However, the Casino Hopper, will continue to roll. But, Coggin says riders won't be the only ones feeling the pinch.
"As people leave, we're hiring part-time. We have frozen pay increases this year. We've raised our health insurance deductibles for our employees and we're reducing overtime."
Coggin said the changes could save CTA a little more than $290,000. The CTA board must still approve the plan before any changes can be made.
The next meeting for public comment will be Wednesday, December 29th from 5 to 7 p.m. It'll be at the Coast Transit Authority office at 333 Debuys Road in Biloxi.
The 30-day public comment period will last through January 7th. CTA is encouraging people to call, fax or mail in their comments. Those comments, CTA says, will be considered in the final decision.