UPDATE Aug. 22, 2018: At a Wednesday meeting, the BJCTA determined no changes to routes or cuts to jobs would be made.
The BJCTA was considering administrative cuts and a reduction in operating costs and other changes due to funding concerns. Originally, BJCTA was set to get $5 million of funding from the City of Birmingham this fall–half of what they’ve received in previous years. But after a meeting, the budget of $10 million is approved, and no cuts will be made.
The BJCTA also agreed to meet the demands of Birmingham mayor Randall Woodfin for better oversight and training for workers.
BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WIAT) — Neighbors without transportation around Birmingham are worried about possible cuts to the BJCTA MAX bus routes.
Tuesday evening, residents and union workers attended a forum to discuss concerns.
The BJCTA is proposing 26 route cuts, administrative cuts, a reduction in operating costs along with the corresponding reduction in operators, maintenance, and customer service personnel.
Currenty, the BJCTA is set to receive $5 million in funding from the city of Birmingham for its fiscal year. It has received around $10 million in previous years.
According to Birmingham City Council Member Darrell O’Quinn, Mayor Randall Woodfin has sent the BJCTA a contract with stipulations that must be met in order to receive the full $10 million in funding.
“On behalf of city hall I can honestly say that we are trying to bring some accountability to the relationship between the BJCTA and city hall,” said O’Quinn.
O’Quinn was at Tuesday’s meeting and said the city is trying to improve public transportation. Many neighbors voiced frustrations about the state of current service.
In West End, Shawn McDaniel esimated that his bus was more than 30 minutes late Tuesday afternoon. He was on the way to court.
“It would be crazy for me to have to explain to the court why I don’t have a ride or I’m waiting on the bus, they don’t want to hear that, they wan’t you on time,” said McDaniel.
According to Councilor O’Quinn, the terms in the contract sent by the city to the BJCTA include:
*A requirement for a leadership stability plan to be in place.
*Ongoing governance training.
*For the BJCTA to report all metrics on function of the transit system.
*Access to BJCTA auditing documents.
“This is taxpayer dollars that we are using to fund this and we need to hold the BJCTA accountable in terms of delivering the service to our constituents,” said O’Quinn, who added that he is hopeful an agreement can be reached.
While conversations continue, customers and workers say they’re caught in the middle.
“It’s so important, not only to myself but to other people who are not able to have transportation to get to where they’re going it affects your livelihood,” said MAX rider Tammy Fits.
“I just feel that the whole idea of what is going on is political, it’s totally political, and the money is there,” said Greg Roddy, president of the local union.
Roddy said he plans to hold additional public meetings.
BJCTA board member Kevin Powe was in attendance and told CBS 42 that he does agree with some of the stipulations in the contract. He says other board members aren’t comfortable with the contract as written.
Powe added that leaders continue to hold discussions.
Stay with CBS 42 for the latest developments.