RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC)—Disabled residents in Richmond who depend on GRTC say the city could be taking away their freedom.
A special weekend bus service that caters to disabled riders in the Richmond region could be no more—all because GRTC lacks the funds to keep it running. Area residents who utilize this service aren't happy about that.
"This is the only mode of transportation that a lot of us have," says Brian Montgomery, who's been using GRTC's CARE service for more than 20 years. "I mean my mom and my dad are up in age. They can't lift my chair anymore and they can't lift me, so this is the only mode of transportation I have."
A lack of money could mean Montgomery and others will lose the transportation they depend on. GRTC says the demand for its CARE service has increased by 75 percent in ten years.
"I don't have relatives that can transport me," says rider Sarah Gray. "I don't have an accessible van, so this is pretty much it for me."
Because more people are using the CARE buses, Richmond City Council is considering changes like higher fees, or even stopping service that's not required under the Americans with Disabilities Act on weekends and holidays.
"This is a difficult decision for GRTC, also we know for the City of Richmond," said Larry Hagin, GRTC's director of planning and scheduling. "But something does need to be done to ensure that we can provide the best service we can into the future."
Hagin says Henrico County is also considering raising fees to keep up with the 146,000 one-way trips in the county last year.
"I do a lot outside my community," Montgomery said. "I need this transportation in order to be able to do what I need to do."
Richmond City Council decided to continue this item to Sept. 23, and many of the people who showed up Monday say they'll show up again on the 23rd.
Copyright 2013 by Young Broadcasting of Richmond
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