Topeka Metro juggles options to deal with rising operating costs

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TOPEKA, Kan. (KSNT) – Increase fares or cut programs. Those are the options Metro’s management is dealing with to help with their budget.

Cheryl Williams’ only way to get around town is by hitching a ride on the Topeka Metro. She is upset to hear coming this December, Topeka Metro plans to cut their hours during the week. Williams says she was actually hoping they would extend their hours to Sundays to help her get to church.

“For older people that are senior citizens, it’s going to be hard because that’s the only transportation you have and especially if you don’t have kids around to help you, it’s going to be hard to get around like that,” said Williams.

Williams lives on a fixed income and pays $30 a month for her service.
Topeka metro plans to cut the last hour of service each day that will save the company over $80,000.

“What it allows us to do is to fully put away the cash under depreciation that we need to do for vehicles,” said Topeka Metro Board Chair, Jim Ogle.

Ogle said they don’t feel they can raise the fares for riders, so they are hoping the Topeka City Council raises the mill levy tax to increase their budget.

“There are people in our community that cannot afford an increase in the mill levy,” said Ogle. “I understand that but at the same time we’re effectively taxing other people, they are going to have to pay more and they’re less able to pay for it.”

Ogle said it’s hard to track how many people are consistent riders because they track every person that gets on the bus. Last year Topeka Metro had more than 1 million riders use the bus.

CLICK HERE if you would like to see Topeka Metro’s 2019 budget.

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