CADIZ Harrison County Rural Transit is adjusting to difficult financial issues that have arisen in the past few months, while continuing operations and services.
Director Karen Couch confirmed that the organization was close to $7,000 in debt at the end of July. They began to fall in the red at the end of May. She added that it is down to $2,793.92.
"It's coming down," she said. "We had a lot going out in bills."
She noted they have recently taken two employees from 40 hours per week down to 32 hours. They are also organizing a more efficient schedule with less down time. They have also canceled their television advertisements.
Couch added that business has also suffered from competition from taxi business.
In addition, it is difficult to expand to new markets in need of transportation in the area, since other departments such as the Senior Center have their own vans.
"It's taking awhile to get back on our feet," she said. "We're trying to squeeze. Taking precautions and hoping to get on our feet again. We don't want to cut services."
She noted that operational expenses remain an issue.
"Fuel and payroll are our biggest expenses," she said, noting that the unpredictability of gas prices can make budgeting difficult.
Couch added that they have hired six part time employees in the past six months to meet the public's transportation needs.
She said in the future they may have to consider an increase in rates by 50 cents. Although the prospect is not immediately in the cards, it may be on the table in the months to come.
"We need to do whatever we can to get the people where they want to go and to provide a service that the people of Harrison County need," she said.
She pointed out that Rural Transit vehicles traveled 190,873 miles in the six months ending this past June. They cover both in-village transportation and longer routes such as Cadiz to Freeport.
Recently, two board members submitted letters of resignation. Board meetings are held the third Thursday of the month at 3 p.m. at the Rural Transit office.
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