JETS proposed route cuts & changes; meeting Monday night

By Lauren Payne - bio | email feedback

"My vehicle's been down so I probably catch it every other day," said JETS Rider, Dexter Thompson.

These days Thompson says JETS has been essential.

"I've been trying to take advantage of it," said Thompson.

Proposed changes in JETS services next year could mean changes in the way Thompson and other JETS riders get to and from where they need to go.

"The ten route through 60 route will no longer be in place," said Transit Director, Steve Ewart.

Ewart says reductions in service are due in part because city revenues just aren't there.  In a tough economy, he says meeting the financial demands of public transit is a higher hurdle.

"There's still some things that we had to address and that we will have to address as we go forward, but this is about the economy," said Ewart.

"The advertising on the buses has not been as good as we've anticipated.   The ridership has not been as great as we thought," said Jonesboro Mayor, Harold Perrin.

Jonesboro Mayor Harold Perrin says the proposed 300 thousand dollar budget for JETS in 2010 far exceeds the 130 thousand dollars the city thought it would spend on JETS when the service started.  He says like with any department, the city must look at the dollars spent and services provided.

"We just hope that we're still providing the services to the people , but again there's a price tag to everything," said Perrin.

Ewart says JETS will serve much of the same area, just not as frequently.

"What we now face is the reality that further reduction in funding is going to mean some rather drastic cuts in service," said Ewart.

JETS entire budget is approximately 921 thousand dollars, funded mostly through federal grants.

Among the changes proposed:

**suspending all Saturday service

**ending service to the Jonesboro Industrial and Craighead Technology parks east of Commerce Drive.

**and reducing Monday through Friday service from six 30-minute fixed routes to three one-hour routes.

These changes to JETS could go into affect as early as January.

There will be a public meeting on December 14th, at 7:00 P.M. at the Huntington Building in Downtown Jonesboro to discuss the proposed changes.

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