Legislators Urge Mayor Not to Curtail Mountain View Bus Service
Say Cut Would “Leave Riders in the Cold”
October 12, 2010 -- Senator Bill Wielechowski (D-Anchorage) and Rep. Max Gruenberg (D- Anchorage) today called on Mayor Dan Sullivan to reconsider his proposal to eliminate People Mover bus route 45G, which runs between downtown and Mountain View.
This proposal was part of the mayor’s 2011 budget, which he recently unveiled.
“Hundreds of people rely on this service to get to and from work every day,” Senator Wielechowski said. “Many of them are just scraping by and have no other means of transportation. This cut will really hurt them.”
Bus route 45G averages 41 passengers per hour, whereas most People Mover buses carry only 32 passengers an hour. If eliminated, the city estimates that “10,000 passenger trips would go unserved.” (See attached documentation.)
Route 45G was added two years ago to alleviate serious overcrowding on route 45, which also runs through Mountain View on its way to the Alaska Native Medical Center. If route 45G were eliminated, many passengers would have to use route 45. However, not everyone could be accommodated.
“I hate to see people left at the curb,” Wielechowski said, “particularly when we are trying to find work for more Alaskans and help families to be self-sufficient.”
“This cut moves us in the wrong direction,” he added.
The mayor’s proposal would also eliminate bus access to Glenn Square Mall, harming businesses there, many of which are already struggling. Old Navy, Famous Footwear, Michaels, Petco, and Bed Bath and Beyond are among the stores that could see fewer shoppers.
The two legislators also asked the mayor to reconsider proposed increases in bus fares. Initial plans call for a 14% increase in adult bus fares on People Mover (from $1.75 to $2.00) and a 17% increase in the fare for seniors on AnchorRides (from $3.00 to $3.50).
AnchorRides is used by citizens age 60 and older who need help getting to non-emergency health care, adult daycare, senior meal programs, pharmacies, and work and volunteer sites.
“I hope the mayor will reconsider these proposals,” Representative Gruenberg said. “At a time when many Alaskans are out of work and businesses are on the edge, we need to find ways to help, not hinder, their efforts to be successful.
“In addition, with a growing population of seniors, now is not the time to curtail essential services for seniors or to make them prohibitively expensive.”