Public outrage over proposed max bus rate increases and route changes

Max bus changes

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WBRC) - More outrage over proposed Max Bus price increases and route changes.

The Birmingham Jefferson County Transit Authority met with the public Wednesday afternoon to discuss the proposed changes and Interim Executive Director of the BJCTA Frank Martin, took on a barrage of questions and complaints from angry customers.

“People are starting to look and listen and pay attention,” one woman warned.

“Stop sticking money in your pockets and get to where it’s supposed to go,” another woman spewed.

Gerry Gibs rides the bus everyday to work and back to his home near Belview Heights, he said he pays $44 for a monthly pass.

“They’re going up to $70 and that’s not right! That is outrageous,” Gibbs said.

The BJCTA proposing to increase fares and change routes, according to Martin, based on the city of Birmingham’s 2020 fiscal budget .

Martin said the transit authority has miscalculated the amount they were charging Birmingham for the last three years, so, they requested $16 million but was given $10 million.

“If we’re only going to get $10 million for 2020, then we need to make some service modifications and increase fares to order to present a balanced budget to our board,” Martin explained.

A Birmingham city representative said the $10 million allotted to the transportation authority comes from discretionary funds and is the same amount given to the BJCTA last year. The rep said the transportation authority is also getting an additional $4 million dollars from property taxes, making the total investment from the city of Birmingham $14 million.

The city rep also added that the transportation authority requested the extra funds after the 2020 budget was drafted and within days of approval from city council. The city said they were unable to make changes on such short notice.

Martin promised to take all the concerns from the public into consideration as the proposal is finalized. More public meetings are schedule.

“Going forward, we will have a fiscally sound transit authority,” said Martin.

The BJCTA is funded by federal and local municipalities.

The transportation board will vote on the proposal in two weeks. All changes will go into effect in September.

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