RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - Despite stimulus money and lower gas prices, the GRTC is still planning to cut several bus routes. The agency says it's expecting fewer resources next year and the cuts to services are inevitable.
Last year the GRTC was facing a 4 million dollar budget shortfall. Lower gas prices and stimulus money created a quick fix, but the agency's leader says another budget deficit is on the horizon next year.
"I'm not very confident that we're going to be able to push out the financial realities that many systems nationwide are facing now for much longer," said John Lewis, GRTC CEO.
Which is why the GRTC is still riding a plan to cut bus routes.
"It's just good business practice. These routes have been under-performing for years," Lewis said.
After months of public hearings it's decided to cut five routes and save two, but scale them back significantly. The number 13 and the number 16 received the biggest outcry. They service the West End and the University of Richmond.
The routes will now be combined and scaled back. But even with a plan to cut service a fare increase is also still on the table. There hasn't been a substantial increase to bus fares in Richmond since the late 80's.
"Sooner or later it catches up to you and I think that's one of the options we will have to take a very close look at as we're moving into the future," said Lewis.
The final plan to cut routes has been submitted to the mayor and city council president. It could go before the full city council this fall. The GRTC is hoping to eliminate these routes by January.