It's an unexpected sign of the times. It's said that the economy is on the upswing....some are seeing some positive things from it but others are still either waiting for their moment or in the case of MATS, the Muskegon Area Transit System....a good economy is causing kind of a pinch.
As people are driving more, the use of the MATS bus system is down and that poses quite a problem for the transportation agency as fares are a big part of the revenue that it takes to keep the service running. The operate on state and federal grants as well, but like anything else, costs continue to rise, the pool of funding shrinks a little more every year and this most essential of services for a lot of people in Muskegon or any other metropolitan area needs to find new ways to fund their operations and provide a way "to and from" for the many who rely on MATS for a lift.
MATS is seeking public input. There are going to be 2 chances to meet with MATS officials to let them know what you think about the service and it's most essential routes. Monday July 22nd at 6:30p at the Sturrus Center at the Downtown Campus of Muskegon Community College and then on Tuesday July 23rd at the Herman Ivory Terminal on Morris Street in Downtown Muskegon at 11a. Monday at the MCC Campus will be a presentation style meeting while Tuesday will be more of an open house with plenty of questions and answers.
Karen Kacynski of MATS joined Andy O for a conversation about what MATS is facing and how they are making every effort to accommodate their passengers and operate within their financial means. Take a listen to our conversation to get the idea of what the dilemma is that's being faced.
We know that MATS is essential for so many. But like Karen said, unlike so many other areas, we don't share the cost of the service via millage or a special tax. It's up to ridership and grand funding to keep the routes moving and Muskegon on the move. It's true, there are some tensions that are high about this, after all not everyone has a car and for those who can't drive, the only way to get where they need to be is MATS. There is no desire on the part of anyone to cut services, but new ideas are needed to find a way to sustain what's being done and fit within financial constraints. Please, be a part of one or both of the meetings and be part of the solution. You can visit the MATS website by clicking below. MATS is a valued sponsor of the Muskegon Channel and Positively Muskegon.