The Metropolitan Transit System (MTS) Board of Directors held a public hearing Thursday to discuss proposed changes to more than 60 bus routes in the region.
At the MTS headquarters, the community voiced their frustration and disappointment with the Transit Optimization Plan. Many people said they depend on the bus service for transportation.
In response, MTS officials said the plan would help improve efficiency and encourage more people to ride.
"They want more frequency and they want more direct routes," said MTS spokesperson Rob Schupp. "So a lot of these changes that we're proposing does exactly that."
Monique Bernard is disabled and uses a cane while walking. She said that she depends on bus route 18 to get to work.
"It's just not fair that they want to cut it out altogether due to low ridership," said Bernard. "I get the fact of low ridership but what about those of us who actually need that route."
Bernard said that moving the route will force her to walk to another bus stop miles away.
MTS officials said the proposed changes would add more buses to highly used routes to improve frequency times. Since ridership has declined, they must respond to the current $5 million budget deficit.
After the hearing, MTS staff said they will refine route change proposals and bring this back to the board in September for final approval. The changes will not be implemented until next year, possibly in January.
Schupp said it probably won't be implemented until June and September 2018. There will be another public comment hearing on Sept. 21.
Riders can submit comments online at the MTS website.