(WMC-TV) - If you or someone you know rides the bus, get ready for some major changes at MATA. Officials say a shrinking budget could force them to revamp some routes and lay off employees
In the same week that MATA announced a 3 percent increase in ridership, MATA discussed combining existing routes to make them more "efficient" and make up for an estimated $4.5 million decrease in the next year's budget.
"Yes it would include layoffs - I don't know the number but again this is going to be a decision that the MATA board of commissioners will make," said MATA spokeswoman Alison Burton.
But before commissioners decide anything they will hold two public meetings and give the public a chance to weigh in about proposals that would cut bus routes to the President's Island area, combine and re-schedule other routes, and force trolley hours to decrease on weekends.
"Again these are proposals," said Burton. "This is not what we want to do but this is what we have to do."
The proposals are the result of a short range transit plan developed by MATA staffers last year.
If approved, you will see new bus shelters and crosstown super routes where you can get to your destination without always having to go to the downtown terminal first.
But what you will not see change is the price. Unlimited daily travel will remain at $3.50.
If you want to let MATA know how you feel about the proposed changes, commissioners are holding public meetings in the coming weeks.
The first meeting will be held July 23 at the Ed Rice Community Center.
Another meeting is scheduled for July 25 at the Airways Transit Center on Airways Boulevard. Both meetings will go from 6 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.
For more information, click here: http://matatransit.com/