WICHITA, Kansas – City leaders need to find $2 million in the budget to keep bus service up and running next year. Without the money, some routes could be cut, and on Saturday, the service could go away.
It’s an issue the city council is looking to tackle head-on. But the future of transit service in Wichita is murky at best.
At Tuesday’s city council meeting, city leaders debated the issue. Council member Janet Miller said the city needs to explore a dedicated funding source for the transit system.
“I’m supportive at looking at, you know, a mill levy increase, a sales tax increase, whatever other funding source someone can think of. I certainly would be willing to look at that and have a community conversation,” Miller said.
The head of the city’s transit system says cuts aren’t set in stone just yet—but something needs to be done to help save the $2 million to avoid major service cuts.
“We just did an analysis of the system and we have some plans that we can use to renovate the system and improve its cost effectiveness and improve service to the public,” said transit director Steve Spade.
“If we think the economy is tough now, wait till we have thousands of people who no longer can get to work on our transit system, which is the direction we’re headed in right now,” Miller said.
Miller says the city actually needs to come up with about $4 million a year to keep service as-is in coming years.
The city will host a series of public meetings to get community feedback on what should be done with the bus system. Dates have not yet been announced for those meetings.
To see a list of proposed changes click here: Wichita Bus System Proposed Route Cuts.