Clastran gets money to operate for two weeks

BIRMINGHAM, AL (WBRC) - Clastran, the transit service for the elderly and disabled, can breathe easy, at least for a couple weeks. They were set to shutdown at the end of the month because of funding problems.

William Voight, from Jefferson County Senior Services, says they have found money for at least another little while. "Service will continue for the next week and hopefully the week after that. We have been able to find money to carry it for that period of time,"  the executive director said.

Jefferson County plans to contribute $300,000 to keep Clastran running, but they want other municipalities to pay their part to keep the service going for a year.

Jefferson County Commissioner, Bobby Humphryes, says,"We determined 56 percent of the ridership comes out of Birmingham and yet the county has been paid the whole bill for serveral years or the whole time, and with our situation we can't continue to do that."

Former Jefferson County Commissioner William Bell is now mayor of Birmingham. Commissioner Shelia Smoot says Bell may help Clastran by coming up with the funding."We think it's a major opportunity for Birmingham to show they care about their seniors. It will help them to get to their doctor appointments and where they need to go," Smoot said.

The commissioners and the head of senior services believe Birmingham and other cities will come through. Smoot says Clastran will continue to operate. "We will work it it out regardless. I want to assure people who ride Clastran that service will not be cut," Smoot said.

Next week the Birmingham city council's finance committee is expected to take up the funding request.