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Bus Services in Southeast Kansas Will Decrease
By Felicia Lawrence
PITTSBURG, KS.--- The largest provider of rural transportation in Kansas is facing a financial roadblock. Bus services in Southeast Kansas will be decreasing. The funding issues SEK-CAP is facing are a result of a decision made by the Kansas Housing Resources Corporation. They are in the process of redistributing funds throughout the state. Unfortunately, this action has cut almost half a million dollars for Southeast Kansas.
From grocery shopping to picking up his medication at the pharmacy, David Thompson says he relies heavily on public transportation.
"I take it when I go to sycamore, and Wal-Mart and Walgreens. I don't have a vehicle, so it's my only transportation," said David Thompson, Resident.
Due to the reduction of a community services block grant, public transportation services will have to be reduced.
"This year, the Kansas Housing Resources Corporation is changing the way that they allocate that funding. And it's causing more than half a million dollars to leave Southeast Kansas and go elsewhere in the state," said Becky Gray, SEK-CAP Director.
Of that half million dollars, 80,000 went towards public transportation in Southeast Kansas. The state's reallocation of funds is negatively effecting the same grant which caused Choices family shelter to close at the beginning of this month.
"So one of the impacts of that loss was the support that we use for the homeless shelter. And one of the other impacts that we're seeing is the support that we have generally used for public transportation is also going away," said Gray.
Becky Gray says now it's time for strategic planning. With the public's help, she says the effects of the upcoming changes can be minimized.
"So the first thing we're going to do is hold some community conversations next week. The idea behind them is to get business owners where the buses take people and also to get bus riders to join in the conversation and let us know where the most important places for these transit systems to take them," said Gray.
As of now, the lack of funding is only expected to effect the Pittsburg Area Community Transportation Routes. There will be a reduction to only one Crawford County General Public Transportation Route. Pittsburg State routes and Girard Medical Center routes will not be affected.
Meetings are scheduled for Monday April 14th from 2:00 pm to 3:00 pm and again from 5:30 pm to 6:30 pm. Another meeting will be held on Saturday, April 19th from 10:00 am to 11:00 am.