NO Suffolk Bus Cuts
This petition had 286 supporters
After weeks of testimony at various hearings, Suffolk County is still scheduled to cut 10 bus routes on October 10th, 2016 due to a redistribution of funds from the bus service, which had been slowly improving, to fill the structural deficit. These routes account for over 130,000 rides per year.
The estimated price to operate these ten routes is $4 million per year. This accounts for a 14% reduction in the County's contribution towards bus service, and will force riders to either use alternative routes which will take more time, find alternative and more costly means of transportation, or go without. This will impact some of the most vulnerable of the population; low-income, disabled, seniors, students, as well as a disproportionate minority population.
While the County in recent years has been pushing the need to Connect Long Island, promoting transit service and economic development in the future this system presently serves existing downtowns and employment centers, and will essentially dis-Connect Long Island. What is ironic is the communities facing cuts have just collectively approved over 1,000 units of Main Street apartments where transit is an important component. The impacts that these bus-line reductions would have on riders, the communities served by the eliminated lines, and the Suffolk economy has not been fully determined; some will face job losses, have to spend extra money for child care due to longer rides, miss medical appointments, not be on time for college, be unable to run errands, and will be unable to enjoy visiting Long Island's downtowns on the weekend. There is a strong possibility of layoffs due to the proposed cuts, as well as a drop in State Transportation Operating Assistance for the system, setting it into a downward spiral.
It is understood that Suffolk County does not get its fair share in funding in comparison to Nassau and Westchester Counties, and that there are a lot of roads to cover. However, simply cutting the routes without results from an On Board Origin to Destination Demographic Survey, which is not set to launch until Spring of 2017, is irresponsible, counter-productive and a disservice to the vulnerable population.
The County Executive has the power to postpone these cuts until a proper analysis is complete to better understand the impacts of cuts, what improvements can be made in order to have an efficient transit system, and to better serve riders. There are potential budget offsets available to fund the bus system without reductions until an analysis is complete. Bus advocates, non-profits, unions, and riders have been and will continue to give valuable input towards measures that can be taken to fix the broken system.
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