Bus Service For Mission Hills is Saved With Significant Cuts

| October 2, 2017 | 0 Comments

by Patricia Paylor and Sharon Gehl

MTS bus service is a major form of transportation for residents and visitors to Mission Hills.

People in Mission Hills got involved and saved the 83 bus line from being completely eliminated, but the service hours were cut. The MTS board voted on September 21 to cut service hours to approximately 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. They also voted to eliminate the Washington Street segment and use the money they’ll save to extend the north end of the route to the Old Town Transit Center. It will then connect the America Plaza and Santa Fe Depot at the south end to the Old Town Transit Center at the north end.

Here is the official wording:

• Service would operate during weekday middays only, between approx. 8 a.m. and 3 p.m.
• The segment along Washington St. and into Hillcrest would be discontinued from Route 83, but remain served by Route 10.
• A new northern terminal would be established at Old Town Transit Center, and the north Mission Hills alignment would change from Fort Stockton Dr. to Sunset Blvd./Juan St.

We want to thank everyone who phoned, emailed, or attended MTS board meetings. MTS heard from more 83 supporters than any other route. The community was able to save the only bus service in North and South Mission Hills, which was slated to be discontinued as part of a reorganization plan. Hopefully, the route changes will prove useful for more people in the future. Unfortunately, limited service hours mean that fewer people can take advantage of the route changes, and many who depend on it now won’t be able to use it.

Some examples are the women who come to work in Mission Hills every week: Angelica, Yolanda, Patricia, Trini, Julia, Marta, Josie, Carmen, Josefina, Berta, Eva, Lupe, Anna and Aracelia. Many work past 3 p.m. On Reynard Way, Imelda, a single mom, and her son and daughter take the 83 to work and school. The kids leave for school before 8 a.m. They will have to borrow money to buy a car. All of the disabled and senior riders living along Reynard Way will now be facing more challenges in getting to appointments and running their errands. All are low income and can’t afford Uber, and the Access bus for the disabled is unreliable and costs $9 per round trip.

The MTS staff said that the changes will happen in January, or as late as June. They will inform us beforehand so that we can get the word out. We want people who can take advantage of the new route to use it. MTS staff said that if midday hourly ridership increases with the new route, they could justify increasing hours to full day again in the future. We need to do what we can to increase ridership so hours can be added.

As they say, “Use it or lose it.” The only bus that serves both North and South Mission Hills is both an asset and an amenity that we don’t want to lose. For many, it’s their livelihood and their tool for mobility.

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