LANE COUNTY -- With many choosing to steer clear of public transportation, various agencies have had to make difficult decisions in order to save money.
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On Friday, the Lane Transit District announced further plans to reduce staff.
Pat Walsh, Lane Transit District spokesman, said that this is not just a case of health concerns but also economic challenges.
“The decisions the district has had to make have really been heart-wrenching,” Walsh said.
Walsh said that on a normal work day, LTD has around 35,000 boardings, but that number has now dropped to 10,000. With this drop in ridership, LTD has assessed that money can be saved with less buses on the street.
“LTD’s goal is to continue to provide transit service to the community within its budget means,” Walsh said. “That’s the best any of us can do whether we’re in government or in private businesses.”
Walsh said that the district relies on employer and employee payroll taxes to fund their budget.
Many LTD riders said that they are heartbroken to hear that people who have been working during this pandemic to ensure people get to where they need to be -- have lost their jobs.
“Hopefully, once this thing comes to an end, they can hire them back,” Steven Leppanen, Eugene resident, said.
Leppanen said that he has great appreciation for the LTD staff.
“The drivers are the ones we really count on to get us to point A to point B,” Leppanen said.
Walsh broke down how funding from the CARES Act is dispersed. He said that about $4 million of the $25 million is used to plug current budget gaps. Around $16 million will be used over the next fiscal year, leaving around $5 million to continue filling the budget gaps.
A virtual budget hearing is scheduled for May 27.