The C.T.A. is in the middle of a financial crisis and hopes the public will speak up. A 30 day feedback period allows the people to give advice on how to keep buses rolling. Kevin Coggin, the Executive Director of the C.T.A., says, "We still have time to salvage this service. That's what this process is about, making sure we don't overlook any potential way that we can sustain what we're doing." Coggin and others are hosting a series of public meetings to make service cuts and make them as painless as possible for the people who rely on it. Karen Craven, a resident, says, "My husband became sick about three months ago. We don't have a car anymore and without that bus, you know, that's the only transportation that he has." Robert Glauner, another resident, says, "I think C.T.A. and our city and government needs to take this budget with natural gas. It would save hundreds of thousands of dollars in maintenance on these buses." Today was the first meeting and people in attendance had much to say about possibly cancelling Sunday bus service. Mary Kay Huska, a resident, says, "I wish they would keep it. I would even pay more if I have to." Coggin also says, "We were surprised that the majority of the people at this meeting were willing to pay more of a fare. That would not address the entire deficit, but that certainly would help."
Many community members attended today’s meeting in Biloxi, but they're hoping that at the next meeting, local officials would be joining them in the audience. Glauner also says, "Next time, I would like to see our city council come to our meetings and let the public talk to them about how we feel about what’s going on with these buses." After four more meetings and analyses of ridership, a decision will be made in mid-December for changes to take place in January. The C.T.A. is hoping more people will bring in more ideas. There are four more meetings for the public to speak up. They will be: tomorrow at 1 p.m. at the Gulfport Transit Center; November 19th at the Gulfport Transit Center; November 20th at D'Iberville City Hall; and November 21st at the Biloxi Transit Center.