Editorial: Reprieve for Route 2
Published: Saturday, October 27, 2012 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Friday, October 26, 2012 at 4:03 p.m.
It was inexcusable for the Alachua County Commission to cut $120,000 to help fund mass transit in the unincorporated area. As a result, RTS staff recommended eliminating Route 2, in east Gainesville.
That route carries 8,400 passengers a month from the Rosa Parks Downtown Station to Waldo Road and provides access to the Walmart Supercenter, the Head Start program at Prairie View Elementary and the Robinson Heights neighborhood.
Unincorporated area or not, it is a mistake to eliminate service in low income neighborhoods that sorely need it. For too many east Gainesville residents, there is simply no transportation alternative.
To their credit, and following adverse public comments, RTS staff is now recommending that Route 2 be retained, even without the county subsidy. It will go to the City Commission on Nov. 1 with a plan that will keep Route 2, even as it reduces hours on Route 7, which also serves east Gainesville.
Gainesville's RTS is one of Florida's mass transit success stories, thanks primarily to funding from UF and Santa Fe College students.
In the fiscal year just concluded RTS carried a record 10,744,448 passengers.
It was the second consecutive year the city's transit service has exceeded 10 million passengers. And, properly, RTS director Jesus Gomez gave due credit to "Our strong partnerships with the University of Florida..."
But regardless of where the dollars are coming from, the city cannot afford to neglect the transit needs of low income neighborhoods.
Hopefully, the Alachua County Commission will reconsider its abandonment of transit next year and restore that funding.
In the meantime, it is up to the City Commission to make sure transit goes where it's most needed.