BAT Bus Proposed Cuts Reaction 

Earlier this month, the city of Bangor made a proposal to increase fares on the BAT bus, reduce service on certain holidays, and do away with the Mall Hopper route on Saturdays…Last week, two hearings were held to gauge opinions in the community.If the changes are implemented those who ride the bus, like Nathan Searles of Bangor, say this will have a major impact on them. “This is it, this is all I’ve got. If I didn’t have this, I live clear at the end of town. If I didn’t have this, I’d have to walk with him in the winter time, snowing and blowing, and I just can’t do it.”Nathan is a single father and takes the bus to drop his son off at daycare, then takes the bus to work. He, like others, can understand part of the proposed change. “You know, the price hike wasn’t really a major concern to people. It was mostly the reduction of services. I mean how are they going to take away holidays that people work and still commute to.””That’s fine,” said Llewellyn Eaton about the rate increase. ” It’s understandable with gas prices going up there aren’t people on the buses, raises for the bus drivers, more money is fine, but it’s that cutting the hours back is going to be murder for everyone who uses the bus.”Both meetings last week were well attended and riders just hope they made their point loud and clear, said Searles. “I know sometimes these meetings, they already have their opinions made I just hope that our voice really means something to them.”The BAT Bus Superintendent, Joe McNeil, says the comments will be heard.”The next step is make a presentation to the City Council. That’ll happen on June 2nd and they’ll make a decision on what direction they want to go.””If they cut services, I’m not going to be able to get to work,” said Searles. ” I work on these holidays as I’m pretty sure 90 percent of the community does. The only ones that don’t work are like the Congressmen, the ones that want to get rid of this, which really doesn’t make sense to me. They don’t ride the bus, they don’t have to depend on this, so I’ll lose my job, I’ll lose my housing, and I could quite possibly lose my son, and I’m not going to let that happen.”