On Sept. 23, Laketran’s Board of Trustees voted to temporarily restore 2009 service cuts by providing weeknight and Saturday local route bus and Dial-a-Ride service for the holiday season.
The extended service hours will operate from Nov. 9 through Jan. 4, and include restored service on Veterans Day, which is federally observed on Nov. 11. The restoration of service is contingent upon the passage of Laketran’s one-quarter of one percent renewal sales tax levy by Lake County voters on the ballot Nov. 5, 2013. The sales tax makes up 60 percent of the agency’s operating budget.
The extended hours temporarily restore services back to the levels Laketran operated before the start of the economic recession which resulted in significant losses in sales tax revenues leaving Laketran no alternative in 2009 but to reduce services.
“In 2009, Laketran did everything in our power to avoid service cuts through reducing budgets, downsizing, and freezing salaries, but faced with dwindling sales tax revenue and uncertain federal and state aid, we had no other options than to reduce services. Through prudent budgeting, we have found a means to bring service back to the community – even if it’s only temporary. We felt that restoring bus service during the holiday season would best serve the community to increase access to holiday job opportunities and encourage shopping in Lake County,” explained Ray Jurkowski, Laketran’s general manager.
The holiday season hours will temporarily extend weeknight service from 8 p.m. to 10 p.m. and bring back Saturday service from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. Saturday service will operate on two-hour headways, as it did prior to the 2009 service cuts.
“We are very pleased to be able to temporarily restore these services. Along with many other agencies, Laketran had a difficult decision to cut service to balance our budget during the current recession. We hope this reassures the community that our primary goal, while being good stewards of taxpayer funds, has been to bring service back to the community when the financial opportunity arises,” said board President Kevin Malecek.