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RTA Proposes Partially Restored Shuttle Service

This past July, the transit system touched a nerve when it said a budget crunch was forcing it to eliminate the 12 "Community Circulator" buses that make short hops along a number of side streets in the region.

After a series of community meetings last month, RTA has unveiled a plan that would restore a portion of the local service, one day a week. RTA spokesperson Jerry Masek says the transit system is willing to split the cost of the so-called Weekly Shopper Service with interested communities.

MASEK: Each party involved would have to pay about $15,000. The vehicles would be in their communities once a week to shuttle customers from major residential areas, such as senior citizen high rises to major shopping and medical facilities.

Masek says the details of.. pick-up locations... and fares... would be worked out with public input. Lakewood mayor Ed Fitzgerald, who was a loud critic of the Circulator cuts, says he's willing to give the plan a shot.

FITZGERALD: From our perspective, it's a partial victory. It's not what we wanted. We'd like seven-day-a-week service to be restored, but we'll take what we can at this point. If it's one day a week, at least it's a basis to work for the eventual restoration when more revenues come in of the service as it was before.

RTA says that if enough communities get on board with the shopping shuttle plan, it could go into effect in January.

David C. Barnett was a senior arts & culture reporter for Ideastream Public Media. He retired in October 2022.