Saturday, July 13, 2002

Limited weekend bus service kept

Elderly, politicians lobby TANK to retain services, and organization listens

By Cindy Schroeder,
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        FORT WRIGHT — When TANK's massive schedule changes take effect Sept. 14, Northern Kentucky's public bus system will keep limited weekend service on three routes used by many older people in Campbell and Kenton counties.

        Betty Maegly, 77, of Ludlow, who takes the bus to a senior center to volunteer, was pleased.

        “I would hate for them to do away with weekend service all together,” she said. “I don't know what I'd do without it.”

        At hearings this week, senior citizens from Ludlow, Fort Thomas and Newport lobbied to keep bus routes serving those areas, saying they depend on buses for doctor visits, grocery shopping and a social life. Because of a budget shortfall, TANK is eliminating or reducing service on all but five of its 33 routes.

        TANK had proposed cutting all weekend service on routes in Ludlow, Fort Thomas and Newport. However, after hearing from senior citizens and elected officials, TANK's board of directors voted Wednesday to keep limited weekend service in those areas.

        Instead of running hourly, the buses on those three routes will run every two hours from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturdays and Sundays, said Gina Douthat, TANK's communications director.

        “After hearing from the public, we felt that if we were going to make any changes (in the proposed cuts), those were the ones to make,” Ms. Douthat said.

        New bus schedules will be available on buses, at the transit center and TANK's Bus Stop store the first week of September, Ms. Douthat said.

        Ludlow City Clerk Paul Weekley said his town has a lot of senior citizens and low to moderate-income residents who depend on buses to get around. The city of 4,736 has a median household income of $35,509, which is below Kenton County's average.

        On Sept. 14, TANK will eliminate five routes — the NKU River Run, Route 24X Crestview Express, Route 26 Grant's Lick, Route 31X Hands Pike Express and Route 36 Wilder.


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