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Tempe residents concerned about employment following proposed bus service cuts

KTVK logo KTVK 5/4/2021
a bus that is parked on the side of a road © (Source: 3TV/CBS 5)

[WATCH 3TV NEWS LIVE HERE]

TEMPE, AZ (3TV/CBS 5) - Stevie Jones III works the graveyard shift... clocking in at 4 p.m. and clocking out in the wee hours of the morning. He relies on Valley Metro to get home, but that could be changing.

Right now, the City of Tempe is looking at reducing the hours its public buses run. Currently, they operate from 5 a.m. to 1 a.m. But starting in October, they could stop running at 11 p.m.

"The late-night service that we currently operate accounts for about a little bit less than two percent of our ridership," says Tempe Transit Manager Eric Iwerson.

Iwerson says no one wants to see a reduction in service, but it is likely to happen because of budget concerns and low ridership since the pandemic.

"We are certainly willing to work with any resident any rider that wants to talk about alternatives for them to get around," says Iwerson.

But what are the alternatives? Iwerson mentioned ride share companies like Lyft and Uber. But many people around the east Valley say that is not sustainable. "Sometimes I pay, like, 50-40 dollars," says Jones. That's compared to the $2.00 he pays to ride a Valley Metro bus.

Shantaijah Riggins says, the time change could have an impact on her employment. "How can I be there on time if there are no buses that's running, you know? And then you have to explain that to your employers, and they're not taking that so seriously. They are thinking, like, oh you're just calling off. But this is a really serious problem."

Iwersen says, the proposed time change aligns with other cities in the valley like Mesa, Chandler and Gilbert.

The city wants to hear from you in a new survey. You can take the survey here.

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