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Macomb public transportation sees big cost jump

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MACOMB, Ill. (WGEM) — Costs are rising for the bus service in Macomb. So, McDonough County Transportation Services officials said they’re trying to manage a big jump in cost, while keeping the free bus service in tact.

For some, public transportation is the only way they can get around.

Macomb resident James Kritz recently moved to the city from California and said that’s the case for him.

“Back home it was like, just going two blocks carrying groceries down two blocks, it cost $5 bucks just to go two blocks,” Kritz said.

McDonough County Transportation Services is free for residents, but city officials are now facing a 26% jump in cost to provide it’s services.

That’s about a $300-thousand to $400-thousand increase from what they’re paying now.

Macomb Community Development Coordinator John Bannon says without a solution the 26% increase could impact services in the next two to three years.

“You’ll be able to continue to take a bus for free we may tweak routes, but we’re talking moving a bus stop a few blocks to make sure we have better service. Not discontinuing any routes,” Bannon said.

He said there won’t be any impact to residents at this time.

“Hopefully we can secure further funding from the state and federal levels or negotiate with our contractor to make sure that we can continue to provide the same level of service that the citizens have been fortunate enough to have in Macomb,” Bannon said.

They’re also looking to their local partners for help, with the goal of keeping the service free, without losing quality.

“Most people cant afford buying a car and most people also don’t have the credit for it so having public transportation is very helpful,” Kritz said.

Bannon said McDonough County Transportation Services sees tens of thousands of riders each month.

He said the next step in this process is to have ongoing conversations with all of their partners to determine what the long-term plan will be.

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