Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Hernando County to slash THE Bus service

BROOKSVILLE — Faced with a budget crisis and concerns that ridership isn't justifying costs, the County Commission on Tuesday cut service by THE Bus in half, a move that could save the county $142,000.

Commissioners also decided to reject five new heavy-duty buses available through federal economic stimulus dollars, deciding instead to spend county money to refurbish three existing buses for $45,000 each.

A report detailed four cost-cutting changes to THE Bus, and the board chose the one with the deepest cut: Buses that now hit their stops one hour apart would switch to two hours apart.

No date was set for when the changes would take place. The commissioners sent the issue back to staff to iron out the details.

The changes in route times would cut costs by $420,000. Since state and federal funds pay the lion's share of those costs, Hernando County would save an estimated $142,000.

County Administrator David Hamilton acknowledged that expanding bus service would likely increase ridership, but that now is not the right time to do so.

"We're not into an expansion mode. We're contracting,'' Hamilton said. "The budget is the overriding concern.''

County commissioners heard from residents again telling them to expand, not reduce, service. Other residents complained that the buses are so under-used that public transportation will not work in Hernando County and that THE Bus should be parked.

But commissioners were reluctant to end the service, especially since the transit report showed that many riders of THE Bus would switch to the Transportation Disadvantaged program if THE Bus was parked.

Because the TD service costs so much more to provide, the county's consultant told the board it could cost Hernando $1.4 million to provide that transportation. The county's portion of funding for THE Bus is $511,000 annually.

Hamilton also noted that keeping mass transit means the county can still be part of the regional transportation planning process.

Brooksville Vice Mayor Lara Bradburn also pointed out that not only would the county miss out on regional planning but also road funds, economic development opportunities and building the community. Without those things, "we'll begin to falter even farther,'' Bradburn said.

Commissioners also rejected the chance to seek federal stimulus dollars to replace the county's aging bus fleet. But they rejected the idea because they worried that they would be tied to bus service for the next 10 years by taking the free buses.

Instead, the county had already planned on refurbishing buses. With the change in service approved by the commission, there will be three buses refurbished with hopes of giving them several more years of usefulness.

Barbara Behrendt can be reached at behrendt@sptimes.com or (352) 848-1434.

Hernando County to slash THE Bus service 04/28/09 [Last modified: Tuesday, April 28, 2009 8:45pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Hernando approves new trash-collection contract; customers get price increase

    Local Government

    BROOKSVILLE — A unanimous County Commission on Tuesday approved a seven-year extension to the garbage-collection contract with Republic Services, an agreement that will bring higher prices, county-provided garbage cans and automated trucks to lift and mechanically dump cans.

    s
Republic Services will to switch to automated trucks, similar to this vehicle used by Progressive Waste Solutions in Hillsborough County, under its contract extension with Hernando County.
  2. Old Coachman Road in Clearwater closed due to depression in road

    Public Safety

    CLEARWATER — Police shut down Old Coachman Road south of NE Coachman Road in both directions Wednesday morning because of a depression in the roadway.

    Police shut down Old Coachman Road south of NE Coachman Road in both directions in Clearwater on July 26, 2017, because of a depression in the roadway. [Clearwater Fire Rescue]
  3. Wasserman Schultz staffer arrested, then fired

    Blogs

    U.S. Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, D-Weston, has fired an IT worker arrested on bank fraud.

    U.S. Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, D-Weston.
  4. Clearwater-based USAmeriBanc acquired by New Jersey bank in $816 million deal

    Banking

    By Times Staff Writer

    CLEARWATER -- USAmeriBancorp, Inc., based in Clearwater, is being acquired by New Jersey's Valley National Bancorp in a $816 million deal, it was announced today.

  5. Outback Steakhouse sees growth in U.S. and Brazil markets in second quarter

    Retail

    TAMPA — Restaurant sales were up at Outback Steakhouse and Carrabba's Italian Grill during the second quarter of 2017, but Bonefish Grill continues to lag at Tampa-based Bloomin' Brands.

    The Outback Steakhouse, on 4088 Park St. N, is showin on July 26, 2017. Restaurant sales were up at Outback Steakhouse  and Carrabba's Italian Grill during the second quarter of 2017, but Bonefish Grill continues to lag at Tampa-based Bloomin' Brands. [SCOTT KEELER | Times]