Niles Wants Your Opinion On Niles Free Bus
As trustees look at changing routes and charging fares, they want to hear your comments. A public hearing is scheduled for Thursday, Aug. 9.
The Niles Village Board is looking at making changes to the Niles Courtesy Bus system, including charging a fare and altering the routes and schedules, and that has generated a lot of activity.
Trustee Joe LoVerde expressed frustration at the progress of change, Public Works staff provided information on proposed fare increases, the village's Finance Committee examined the costs of the bus, and the village scheduled public hearings (daytime and evening) on Thursday, Aug. 9.
LoVerde brought up the fact that the board first started asking staff many months ago to study ways to reduce the Courtesy Bus cost.
"For over two years we've been discussing route adjustments--you were going to talk about $130,000 in savings, the mayor directed you to save $200,000, and nothing's been done," he said at the June 26 village board meeting.
Others pointed out that the departure of a Pace Bus official slowed down plans for Niles' Arterial Rapid Transit (ART) bus, and consequently, all other public transportation in Niles.
Scott Jochim, Public Services Department director, said his department has studied route and schedule reductions and proposed instituting a per-ride fare of 25 cents for adults and 10 cents for seniors, the disabled and children.
Mike Haws of the Public Services Department said June 26 those fare levels would bring in $50,000 a year, based on 2011 ridership figures.
Niles pays 36% of bus costs, Pace pays 64%
Village Finance Director Scot Neukirch said Niles paid $643,616 in calendar year 2011 toward the courtesy bus. The village pays 36 percent of the costs.
Pace, which is responsible for 64 percent of the costs, paid $935,128. The total cost of the bus was $1,578,744, Neukirch said.
During calendar year 2011, the village went $75,000 over budget on Courtesy Bus costs, and Pace has reimbused the village for that amount, Neukirch said.
Public may give opinions Aug. 9
Residents, riders and members of the public may give their comments on the Courtesy Bus, such as opinions on fares and route changes, at two public hearings scheduled for Thursday, Aug. 9. The first is scheduled from 1:30 to 3:30 p.m., and the second is from 6 to 7:30 p.m. at Niles Village Hall, 1000 Civic Center Drive, which is located in a mall at the southeast corner of Waukegan Road and Oakton Street.
Prior to that date, anyone may submit written comments on paper to the village. Comments may also be emailed to Village Manager George Van Geem at firstname.lastname@example.org, who said he will read them into the record at the hearing.