More Gold Country bus route cuts probable |

More Gold Country bus route cuts probable

“Deep cuts to service” are probable for Nevada County’s bus system in the near future to make up a projected deficit of $480,000 for the year,

according to Public Works Director Doug Farrell.

Beyond the current 2009-2010 fiscal year, radical changes are being pondered for the future of the system as well, according to Gold Country Stage Transit Services Manager Susan Healy-Harman.

The officials made their announcements Wednesday to a solemn Nevada County Transit Commission.

An expected decrease in sales tax income of 21 percent for the current 2009-2010 fiscal year produced the $480,000 deficit, Farrell said.

He projected a similar decrease in revenue for 2010-2011, and no foreseeable rebound in the economy to bring the sales taxes back.

To ensure core services survive for now and into the next fiscal year, the commission is looking at consolidating routes, changing bus frequencies from every half-hour to one hour, reducing the amount of daily runs on routes and cutting hours for Telecare runs.

The cuts can’t come until public hearings are held, with the first scheduled at the next meeting of the commission on Wednesday, March 17. Service changes could come in June or July, according to Healy-Harman.

Beyond that, commission members and Healy-Harman said they are looking at a “mobility management” philosophy that would change how Gold Country does business in future years.

“Taxi vouchers are a possibility,” Healy-Harman said. Other long-range changes could include dial-a-ride and merging public riders with Telecare clients to streamline the system and cut costs.

For the full story, see Thursday’s edition of The Union.

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