Facing a $16.8 million operating and capital shortfall for 2010 due to the recession, the Southwest Ohio Regional Transit Authority (SORTA) made service reductions and may increase fares by the end of the year.
To address the budget crisis, SORTA also is reorganizing its administrative staff to maximize productivity and efficiency. On Friday, 32 salaried (non-union) employee positions were cut or reduced from full-time to part-time.
These salaried employment actions are being taken regardless of the level of service reduction SORTA makes to balance the 2010 budget. SORTA recommended a 12 percent service reduction with a fare increase proposal that must be approved by Cincinnati City Council before Nov. 20. Without the fare increase, SORTA service will be cut 20 percent, effective Dec. 27, 2009.
Cincinnati City Council’s approval of the fare increase (needed for the 12 percent service cut option) will save 55 union jobs for bus drivers and maintenance employees and almost one million rides for customers, compared to the 20 percent service reduction.
“We’ve been working for months on a balanced package to address the huge 2010 budget shortfall while having the least impact on our customers. We’ve reduced costs, deferred capital purchases, reorganized our administrative staff. The final actions will be the proposed fare increases, if approved, and a service reduction,” said Marilyn Shazor, SORTA’s CEO. “This is a painful time for our customers and our employees. We hope that the new year will bring a turnaround in the economy that allows us to offer more to the community, not less.”