NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) – Service reductions and fare increases could be coming to Nashville’s public transit system.
WeGo Public Transit says they are looking at an $8.7 million deficit for the coming year if the Mayor’s proposed budget stays as is.
The group Music City Riders United says they are outraged. They have made flyers saying “stop the budget hunger games” and they plan to march Wednesday from Music City Central to protest at City Hall before the budget hearing.
“This is going to cut deep,” Jack Willey with the group told News 2.
WeGo Public Transit officials say they are looking at a flat level of funding for the third year in a row, per the Mayor’s proposed budget. They say it’s important to note that it isn’t a budget cut from metro, but as is, they will not receive their initial funding requests.
Therefore, they are looking at an $8.7 million deficit for the coming year, which will result in service reductions and fare increases.
“In a city that’s growing, in a city where more people need public transit and are dependent on it to get to work, to get their kids to school. It’s really a slap in the face to the 25,000 bus riders every day who depend on the service,” said Willey.
While he is a choice rider, Angelique Johnson relies on the transit system.
“I’ve been taken the bus pretty much all my life. I’m a dependent bus rider. I can’t drive, I’m legally blind,” Johnson explained.
She is the organizer of the group of riders that are fighting for better public transit.
The group is worried that without full funding, bus services will be cut from the neighborhoods that need it most.
“We have an equity problem in our city. More people are being displaced to the suburbs of our county that are transit deserts like in Antioch, Madison, and Hermitage, who literally have to walk miles to a bus stop and it’s unacceptable,” stated Willey.
The coalition Connect Mid-TN unites about 20 groups to coordinate their educational, engagement and advocacy efforts on transportation.
“Disheartened” is how the coalition describes Mayor Briley’s proposed budget.
“We have a number of Nashvillians that rely on the transit system and then we are also a growing city and a changing city and we can’t continue to keep the funding for our transit at the same level, while the demands for transit continue to grow and more people continue to move to our city. Our transit system needs to grow with our city to meet the needs of the city,” said Lindsey Ganson with Connect Mid-TN.
Wednesday’s protest at City Hall is at 4:30.