CTA now taking public input on possible route changes

GULFPORT, MS (WLOX) - The Coast Transit Authority is now taking feedback on a proposal to make major changes to public transportation.

Because of a budget shortfall, CTA is considering a drastic reduction in services. But officials want to know what riders think before making any decisions.

The public comment period began on Friday and goes through December 6th.

"I depend on it a lot because that's the only transportation I have," said Nathaniel Harvey, who boards a bus in West Gulfport almost every day.

If CTA moves ahead with proposed service cuts to its fixed routes, riding the bus every day won't be an option. The plan is to eliminate the East Biloxi route and reduce the amount of days the bus service is offered for every other route.

This month, CTA will hold five public hearings to give people an opportunity to talk about how such changes would affect the community.

Floyd Guy, who is also a frequent rider, said he worries about the impact on local military members.

"A lot of Air Force people depend on the transit system. A lot of people that don't have cars depend on it to get back and forth to work and I think them changing the bus schedules is no good for anybody," said Guy.

"Everybody goes to work in Biloxi or Ocean Springs and D'Iberville. I wish they didn't have to cut those buses," said Lillie Anderson. "Everybody enjoys riding the bus. Especially right now because the economy is really bad."

Harvey said he is thinking of the people who need the bus service to do their shopping.

"The people up 49, they're the people I feel for because they've got to get up to Walmart and get their medicine," said Harvey.

CTA officials said the cuts are necessary because CTA received $270,000 less from city governments than requested. Therefore, CTA also lost out on dollar for dollar federal match money.

Some residents say local governments need to step up.

"I think the mayor of Biloxi and the mayor of Gulfport need to step up and get it together and make some changes where this doesn't happen," said Guy.

CTA's first public hearing is scheduled for November 12th from 1 to 3 pm at the Biloxi Transit Center.

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