By ANDREA POTEET
Sunday Times Newspapers
WYANDOTTE – About 70 children are scheduled to lose their transportation to school with the announced modification of more than 13 SMART bus routes, including the 112 line, which stops at Wilson Middle School and Roosevelt High School.
According to SMART’s website, the 112 will be completely eliminated on weekdays beginning Dec. 12. SMART Manager of Marketing and Communications Beth Gibbons said the affected routes were decided upon after three public hearings in the wake of a $7 million budget deficit for 2012. The routes cut were those used by fewest riders, she said.
“I’m not saying that makes it easier on people,” Gibbons said, “but the reality is we had to eliminate the $7 million from our budget.”
As the school district does not provide busing, the route is the only way to school for many district students.
At Monday’s meeting, Mayor Joseph Peterson announced he had written a letter to SMART opposing the route change on behalf of the council and urged residents to protest the change by emailing the company at [email protected].
“This route is an artery for those kids going to that school,” Peterson said. “We made it very clear that we needed this thing.”
Gibbons said she is unsure how successful a petition will be in saving the route.
“Certainly, we’ll be watching and seeing what happens,” Gibbons said. “But at this point, I can’t say whether anything will come of it. Any changes we make from this point means we have to cut from someplace else.”
Route 160, which stops at Fort and West, Eureka, and at Southland Mall, was originally considered to be cut but will remain unchanged after the public hearings, Gibbons said.
Gibbons also said a connector service is available on a first-come-first-seve basis with two day’s notice.
She said anyone with questions about the route changes can go to www.smartbus.org.