Flat Funding Leaves Some in Louisa without a Ride - NBC29 WVIR Charlottesville, VA News, Sports and Weather

Flat Funding Leaves Some in Louisa without a Ride

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A funding shortfall from Louisa County is forcing a regional transit system to cut routes and raise fares for riders. JAUNT says the service changes will hurt some of the county's most vulnerable people. Now, the transit agency is pleading with county supervisors to reconsider its budget. 

Angeline Ragland relies on JAUNT. "Anywhere in Louisa, I ride the bus," she said. 

Driver Monica Holloway picks Ragland up at home and takes her to work. But Ragland may have to reduce her work hours without a JAUNT ride to rely on. 

"They already cut Mondays. I don't work on Mondays. Now, I'm not going to be able to work on Saturdays. I'm just going to lose," Ragland said. 

Three years of flat funding from the county is forcing JAUNT to cut Saturday service within Louisa, starting July 1. Tuesday and Thursday bus service to Charlottesville will also stop. Seniors going to the Betty Queen Intergenerational Center will pay 50 cents more for a ride and all other fares go up $1. 

"There's more seniors, more people on dialysis, those kinds of needs are growing all the time. So, it's really hard to do that with flat-funding to handle the demand," said Donna Shaunesey, JAUNT's executive director. 

JAUNT originally requested $289,000 from the county. Supervisors are only funding $202,000 to the transit service. 

"We appreciate the services JAUNT provides, but a 40 percent increase we felt was not fiscally responsible. We just want JAUNT to give us some realistic figures," said Louisa County Supervisor Fitzgerald Barnes. 

Ragland begs county supervisors to reconsider funding so riders like her don't have to struggle more with their own budgets at home. "I want them to keep running. Please, keep running," Ragland said. 

Shaunesey is sending supervisors a request for an additional $17,800. That would keep the Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday service - with a fare increase. 

Supervisors are expected to discuss the funding at their meeting July 1.

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