CTA riders ask Biloxi for $191,000 to help keep buses rolling

BILOXI, MS (WLOX) - People who depend on public transportation are hoping the city of Biloxi will help keep the buses rolling. Coast Transit Authority is on the verge of major cuts to service to because of funding deficits.

Every day people on Coast catch the bus to take them where they need to go. People who are elderly, disabled or can't afford a car went to plead their case for why losing service would hurt the community.

"I'm a volunteer crossing guard and if we cut the buses I'm not going to have no way to get to work," said Thomas Jackson.

"As you can tell, I have a physical disability," said Elizabeth McKee.

"I do not drive an automobile. I use the bus for everything. I use the bus to go shopping. I use the bus for doctors."

The CTA board is scheduled to vote on reducing some routes and eliminating others to save money. Biloxi has already agreed to give CTA $280,000. CTA officials asked if the city would agree to $191,000 more.

"We can't absorb a $190,000 deficit so we're asking you to consider additional funding," said CTA Director Kevin Coggin.

"So we are asking you to consider additional funding which will allow me to sustain the current level of service that we have."

If Biloxi agrees to chip in more money, CTA officials say service cuts won't be needed. Because of federal matching dollars, CTA would receive double what the city gives.

Claude Payne lives in senior citizen housing in Biloxi. He spoke for himself and his friends.

"I hope the people here understand that there are a lot of people in that building that do not have automobiles," said Payne.

"I'm 82-years-old and I can't do anything because I've operated on my brain and that kind of stuff."

Some people told the council losing their bus service would be like taking away their chance to get out and enjoy life. CTA is also considering raising the fares but officials said that alone would not be enough to cover the deficit.

Copyright 2013 WLOX. All rights reserved.