There’s some bad news for bus riders in Middletown. The city's area transit system says it is running out of money and it has to eliminate many bus routes beginning July 1.
Bus riders said this will impact the working poor, senior citizens, people with disabilities, and their ability to get to work, to doctors’ appointments and more.
Middletown Area Transit says due to budget cuts it has no choice.
There was a packed room Wednesday night at a public meeting at the Middletown Area Transit Station, where people voiced concerns that certain bus routes are being eliminated.
"At the end of the day, those who will be impacted the most are the taxpayers, those trying to keep a roof over. Their head and put food on the table for their families,” said Gwen Samuel, president of the Connecticut Parents Union.
Middletown Area Transit, as of July 1, will completely eliminate night service, and the M-link line connecting Middletown and Meriden will run only morning and afternoons Monday to Friday. Saturday service remains unchanged.
For people with physical disabilities, like Emily Brede, it is particularly upsetting because she says it will rob her of her freedom.
"To have independence to go to work. I work a 40-hour work week, go to work every day come back home. It's a big independence thing. Not having it is a lack of control. A lot of negatives not having public transportation. Very important human right,” Brede said.
Middletown Area Transit said it realizes the negative impact, but with cuts in state funding it was cut routes or cut operation altogether.
"The bottom line is dollars. We can’t put fuel in the tank unless we get some additional funding to continue the routes we're proposing to cut,” said Andrew Schiaravallo, Middletown Area Transit administrator.
Middletown Area Transit officials say they are talking to the Connecticut Department of Transportation and the Federal Transit Administration as well as local leaders to come up with a solution, but they say either cut these routes July 1 or come August they will have to shut down all routes completely.
Copyright 2017 WFSB (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.