Some say cuts to Cedar Falls bus route are wrong - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Some say cuts to Cedar Falls bus route are wrong

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CEDAR FALLS (KWWL) -

The Cedar Falls City Council voted this week to reduce the operating hours of a major bus route. Now, some are saying the cuts are wrong.

Bus Route Nine was formed years ago with federal funding, in an effort to help people get to their jobs. It connects Thunder Ridge, the University of Northern Iowa, and Viking Road. Last year, the route provided 30,000 rides.

"I look out in the crowd and I see the need," said Mark Little, General Manager of Waterloo - Cedar Falls Metropolitan Transit Authority, which runs the city buses. "Put yourself in their position, where possibly someone could lose their job if they lose transportation."

In 2012, the federal funding for the route was cut, so Monday, the Cedar Falls City Council voted to reduce the hours. Council Member Tom Hagarty was the only one that voted to keep the route operating as-is.

"We have money for every project, whether it's a pet project, or a staff project, or the Mayor's project," Hagarty said. "...You know these are quality of life issues -- well, so is the bus service. Our motto is "Our Citizens Are Our Business." Well, I'll put a question mark on that."

The Council cut the route's weekly operation hours from 71 to 50. Some said it was the best compromise available.

"It's a case where we have a lot of pressures being put on us by the state, federal and upcoming bills that we are going to be getting," said David Wieland, Cedar Falls Council Member. "We just need to be smart and plan ahead."

Now, the Transit Authority will decide how to divide the reduced operating time.

But still, some people at the meeting said this is about more than just the route.

"We talk about being a city that wants people," David Glenn-Burns told the Council Members. "We talk about having nice signs. We want to attract people. We might want to be putting up a sign that says, 'we only want you if you can afford to drive your nice cars to our jobs at the industrial park or the university."

Back at the Transit Authority, Little said nothing is set in stone yet, but they are considering running the bus in split shifts, by taking a few hours off around noon during weekdays. They also plan to cut a few hours from Saturday's schedule.

The Transit Board will make the final decision on the new hours Thursday.

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