Members of the Birmingham City Council clashed Tuesday over funding for the embattled Birmingham-Jefferson County Transit Authority, which currently is mulling route cuts and fare increases within the city.
The Birmingham Jefferson County Transit Authority recently rejected a proposed budget that would have increased bus fares from $1.25 to $1.50. It would’ve also cut some bus service. Executive Director Frank Martin recently signed a contract to lead the transit authority. Some say he has a tough road ahead. The bus system is plagued with problems around efficiency and revenue. Martin, in part, blames the transit board, saying they’ve been unwilling to compromise. He tells WBHM’s Janae Pierre riders aren’t paying enough into the system, and neither is the city of Birmingham.
Jefferson County is picking up the tab for bus service for some unserved areas through the end of the current fiscal year.
Commissioners passed a resolution at their meeting on Thursday to provide transit for people living in Adamsville, Forestdale, Brighton, Lipscomb, Fultondale, Gardendale and Fairfield.
“This isn’t about MAX (Metro Area Express),” Commission President Jimmie Stephens said. “This is about citizens and being able to serve the citizens. These citizens in these communities have been bypassed and the doors were shut. We’re going to give them the opportunity to receive the benefits from MAX to go to the doctor, to go to and from work, and to go to and from getting their medication. If they utilize this, it will be $100,000 very well spent.” Read more.