Pending Cutbacks in Phoenix Bus Service Mean Even Harder Times for Many

By Paul Rubin

The Phoenix City Council voted unanimously during a meeting this week to dramatically cut back bus service.

We learned about this from a buddy who has been riding the bus from his home in northwest Phoenix to his job at the post office in downtown Phoenix for more than a decade. Trouble is, he gets off at 10:30 p.m., and the council's action means that, starting December 29, there will be no bus service inside the city's 500-square-mile limits after 10 p.m. and before 5 a.m.

Saturday bus service, which already is skimpy, will be cut back at the same time.

We know painfully well that times are tough, and we're not arguing that the city of Phoenix is hurting financially--officials have claimed a $250 million budget shortfall, a remarkable negative chunk of change by any measure.

Surely, the bus service cutbacks will save but a scant percentage of those millions.

But at what real cost to this city's lower-wage citizens?

Untold thousands of people now take the bus very early in the morning or late at night.

It's not that these folks necessarily prefer to stand at a stop for a half-hour or more waiting for their only way home or to their jobs. But in many, many instances (like our friend's), they currently have no alternative.

Well, they'd better find one by the end of the year.

It seems absolutely basic for a city of any size, soul and substance to provide decent transit to those who can't afford to drive an air-conditioned vehicle hither and yon, or can't choose the precise hours of their employment.

How could Mayor Phil Gordon and his colleagues on the council allow this to happen?

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