Planned Transit Service Cuts Already Causing Problems for Businesses in Pennsylvania
Cumberland County, Pennsylvania is facing the prospect of reduced bus service. "The county is served by Capital Area Transit (CAT), which is facing a 24% reduction in service. A consultant is being brought on to undertake a massive overhaul of CAT’s bus routes and system," Bennett Leckrone reports for The Patriot-News.
The changes at CAT expand beyond the service reductions. CAT just finished updating its payment system, and the agency has plans to update their website and mobile app. All that work must be accomplished on a constrained budget. CAT officials hope a redesign will realize some efficiencies, and reduce deadheading (i.e., non revenue bus travel time) to cut cost. Even with those benefits, officials are predicting some loss of service. The CAT may raise fares, but this would not be likely to provide a total solution to the budget issue, as fares only cover part of the costs of the service.
Businesses in the CAT service area have voiced concerns about the impacts of the reductions on the workforce, many of whom depend on CAT to commute. "Crystal A. Quintin, a regional director at the Geisinger Health Foundation, said it’s not just the employees that need to get to a business, but the customers as well," Leckrone reports. Less convenient transit can lead to suppressed demand meaning that some will simply not travel to the service if transit is not convenient or affordable, and fewer trips could mean fewer customers.