Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Hernando commissioners uphold 50 percent cut in bus service

BROOKSVILLE — Despite pleas from some residents, the Hernando County Commission went ahead Tuesday with its plan to cut by half the service offered by THE Bus, the county's fixed-route transit system.

For riders, that means a two-hour wait between buses instead of the current one-hour wait.

Officials said the changes would cut costs by $420,000, about $142,000 of which is borne by Hernando County.

Commissioners proposed the service cuts in April and set a mandatory 30-day comment period for the public to weigh in. Dennis Dix, the county's metropolitan planning coordinator, said that of the 41 responses his office received, 82 percent favored keeping THE Bus service as is. The remaining 18 percent favored reducing or eliminating the service.

Dix said the current route schedule will continue until Sept. 30.

"It's a real paradox," Commission Chairman David Russell told the audience at Tuesday's board meeting.

Resident Rosemary Sonnenberg argued that THE Bus is important to the county because it serves primarily low-income workers and elderly and disabled residents.

"These buses are essential to our future," Sonnenberg said. "If anything, it needs to be expanded."

Bobbi Mills, a longtime opponent of THE Bus and a former county commissioner, said the service doesn't make much sense because it serves only a portion of Hernando residents. "It's not the majority of the people," she said.

THE Bus began service in 2002. Federal grants of $730,000 covered the entire capital cost of the project. The county contributes $511,000 annually toward the operating costs.

Over the years, however, the transit system has become something of a political football.

In April, commissioners voted to spend $45,000 to refurbish the original bus fleet rather than seek federal stimulus dollars for new buses. The reason: It would have tied the county to providing bus service for the next 10 years.

In other commission action:

• The board gave a $93,000 jobs creation grant to Chasco Machine & Manufacturing Inc. to move its precision robotic manufacturing operation to a 30,000-square-foot plant at the county airport industrial park. The business will eventually employ 31 people to make spare parts for commercial aircraft.

• The board approved the appointment of Dr. Stacy Strickland as county extension services director, replacing retiring director Donna Peacock. Strickland has served as the agency's small farms specialist since 2004.

Logan Neill can be reached at lneill@sptimes.com or (352) 848-1435.

Hernando commissioners uphold 50 percent cut in bus service 06/23/09 [Last modified: Tuesday, June 23, 2009 7:37pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. What you need to know for Thursday, June 29

    News

    Catching you up on overnight happenings, and what you need to know today.

    See that thing in the water? No? That's the point. It's that time of the year when stingrays are often lurking in the sand, often not visibly. Remember to do the stingray shuffle if you're out at the beach this weekend. [JIM DAMASKE | Times]
  2. Pinellas beaches seeing fewer injuries from stingrays, but the summer is still young

    Environment

    FORT DE SOTO — Rebecca Glidden leaned back in her lifeguard chair, watching behind sunglasses as families splashed in the water at Fort De Soto's North Beach.

    A Clearwater water safety supervisor demonstrates the stingray shuffle. Pinellas beaches are reporting relatively few injuries from stingrays so far this year, but they anticipate more as the summer wears on. Officials are reminding beachgoers to do the shuffle when they enter the water and keep an eye out for purple flags flying from the lifeguard towers, which indicate stingray activity. [JIM DAMASKE   |   Times]
  3. Weeki Wachee River advocates agree to work to resolve issues

    Local Government

    WEEKI WACHEE — Degradation of the Weeki Wachee River is a complex mix of circumstances, with a variety of jurisdictions holding the authority to fix the problems. That has made finding solutions over the years more about frustration than success.

    A boat and kayak drift into one another as they share the narrow passage near Rogers Park on the Weeki Wachee River in March. Advocates fear too many vessels are damaging the river.
  4. Despite change in Cuba policy, cruise ships sail on

    Tourism

    TAMPA -- It's smooth sailing for cruises from Tampa to Havana, with the first of Carnival Cruise Line's 12 such excursions launching today, two months after Royal Caribbean's initial voyage from Port Tampa Bay to the island.

    The Empress of the Seas cruise ship docks at the Port Tampa Bay Cruise Terminal 3 in Tampa. President Donald 

Trump's new Cuba policy may not hurt cruises to Havana at all. In fact, it may help these cruises. CHARLIE KAIJO   |   Times
  5. Lien forgiveness program aimed at blighted properties in Zephyrhills

    Local Government

    ZEPHYRHILLS — The city will begin offering a new residential lien forgiveness program in an effort to encourage improvements to properties and home ownership.

    City Manager Steve Spina said it is geared to foreclosures and properties for sale.