LETTER: Squeezing bus service will profoundly affect lives

Thursday, August 25, 2011 | 4:25 p.m. CDT; updated 8:01 p.m. CDT, Tuesday, September 6, 2011

The city manager’s proposed price increases and cuts to the transit system worry me.

I moved to Columbia because of the bus system.  I even choose where I live in town so I am close to a bus route.

I've used bus systems in Austin, Texas; Tucson, Ariz.; and Kansas City — and Columbia's is a good one.

Of course, there could be improvements — adding more evening routes and extending service to Sunday — but overall it's a pretty good system. And it's a lifeline for a lot of people.

I know that the city budget is tight, but raising prices and cutting routes and hours will affect lives profoundly.

Many jobs are not 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., such as in retail and food service. They don’t pay well, either. With the economy hitting the middle class and poor so hard, there isn't any wiggle room in our lives for additional costs of gas, insurance and car maintenance. Cars are expensive.

And city infrastructure for cars is very expensive. All the money that goes to parking garages and maintaining streets far outweighs transit costs.

I know we can find another solution.

And I have a challenge for those of you who wish to cut the transit system: Ride the bus for a week. Ride to and from work; run all your errands.

 I think you won't see it as a line item on the budget anymore.

 Beth Hastings has been a Columbia resident since 1996.

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