FORT WAYNE – Citilink hopes next year it can restore some of the bus service it cut back in 2008.
The transit systems board of directors last week approved its $13.2 million budget for 2013, which calls for bringing back half-hour service to some routes. The budget must still be approved by the City Council.
Returning the service will be dependent upon a few factors, said Ken Housden, Citilink general manager, including the upcoming negotiations with Citilinks union. Housden said until he is sure of what the labor costs will be and the level of support the state will provide, it wouldnt be prudent to increase transit service.
You dont want to spend that money until you know you got it, he said. If everything goes well, we should be able to provide some more service for our community.
The board reduced half-hour service during peak times to routes No. 2 and No. 3 in 2008 in an effort to close a budget deficit. Route No. 2 goes from the Georgetown shopping area in eastern Fort Wayne to the Time Corners shopping area on West Jefferson Boulevard. Route No. 3 travels from north of IPFW south on Fairfield Avenue to Paulding Road.
Housden said Citilink has made assumptions on what the labor costs will be for next year, but he hopes an agreement will be made by the end of the year.
He said reinstating the half-hour service likely wouldnt happen until mid-2013, and only if money is available.
The transit systems budget for next year is nearly 2.8 percent more than its 2012 budget – the maximum growth allowed by state law for next year. It will call for raising nearly $5.2 million in property taxes, but Citilink will lose about $633,000 of that revenue because of state tax caps.
State law requires the council to approve a budget from Citilink, which Housden expected would happen in October.