By Ted AYALA
Local residents who patronize the Glendale Beeline will be feeling an extra sting in their wallets in the coming months. City Council on Tuesday night approved rate increases and service reductions to the Glendale Beeline and Dial-A-Ride that have come under heavy scrutiny and criticism from citizens.
Though the rate increases were roundly panned by students and seniors, some of the most pointed criticism came from cuts to Route 13. The tail end of the route, which runs through Glenoaks Canyon, was approved to be cut altogether, though the service would be picked up by six-person shuttle vans that would run a taxi service in the affected area.
Angela Voukos, an officer for the Glenoaks Homeowners Association, voiced her withering criticism of the service cuts fare increases.
“Glenoaks is home to 800 families. Riders consist mainly of students and the elderly. We believe the rate change from 50 cents to $1.25 to be prohibitive and a severe hardship for these passengers,” she said, adding that some riders would be in danger of “losing their employment,” and that some residents would be “unfairly confined to their homes” as a result of the changes.
Crowds of students also stepped up to the dais to urge the council to reconsider the fare increases.
“The increases will dramatically affect the economic lives of these students,” said Glendale Community College student Sean Terjelian. “They shouldn’t have to deal with the pain and worry of the [increase] in bus fares.”
In response to some of the students’ concerns, council approved a discounted student monthly pass at $22.
“It’s hard,” said Councilman Dave Weaver. “Every time council talks about raising the fare, this is what happens: guilt trips. So each year the buck is passed down. I hear the students. But if we don’t close the [Beeline’s budget] deficit, we’ll be finished.”
The city is faced with a dire crisis and no easy answers. Councilman Ara Najarian expressed some of the frustration facing the council in having to grapple with this difficult decision.
“We’ve got to keep this system alive,” said the councilman. “But two more years at this rate and the party is over. And nobody wants to do that.”