The C.T.A. approved three new changes to its operation. Residents on Dedeaux Road will now have better access to public transportation. Even though bus fares are going up, it’s allowing the transit to branch out and help others get around in the community. Linda Butterbread rides the bus in Gulfort at least once a week. She says she wouldn't mind paying a little extra money to make sure her bus route stays as is. Butterbread says, "I think that they should improve the bus routes and I don’t think they should quit them because so many people have to take the bus to work or to the doctor’s or to the hospital." Recently, the C.T.A. has faced deficit problems. Before making any major changes, they obtained feedback from more than 400 customers, whose preferences sounded a lot like Butterbread’s. Kevin Coggin, the Executive Director of the C.T.A., says, "Our consumers told us that they were willing to pay an increase in the fare to offset some of the cuts we were proposing to eliminate." After taking in the public's opinion, the C.T.A. decided on three solutions to try and pull themselves out of debt.
The first change: a fare increase across the board, with the exception of the senior/disabled monthly pass, which will remain $32. The board also agreed to discontinue bus routes to Keesler Monday through Thursday. Coggin also says, "It’s very low ridership. It’s not very affective and we're doing that as a cost cutting measure, however, we will still maintain service on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday." Lastly, no more buses will be traveling to and from the Gulfport-Biloxi International Airport. With the elimination of the bus routes to and from the airport, it will allow more access for residents living on Dedeaux Road to use the bus system. Coggin closes, "We're going to eliminate service to the airport and shift that out to the Dedeaux Road Corridor, which will give residents out there new access to public transit." The C.T.A. believes that these changes will help take care of their deficit in the city of Gulfport, at least for now. The new transit changes will go into effect on Sunday, March 2nd.