Jaffar Green uses the bus to get to school after experiencing car trouble.
By: Kelsie Weekes
Many Midlands bus riders are disappointed that the one percent sales tax increase to help pay for the bus system was rejected by Richland County voters Tuesday. The one percent increase would have provided money for the troubled Central Midlands Regional Transit Authority, as well as paid for road and bridge construction in Richland County.
Transit officials say they may now be forced to reduce bus routes and cut jobs. Bus driver Satara Lopez is worried that her job is in jeopardy.
"I hope that the jobs won't be cut and that it won't affect the people like we're predicting it will," Lopez says. "Because I personally love my job, and hopefully they love us being here for them."
Others say that the bus system is their only way of getting around. Midlands Tech student Jaffar Green says he relies on the bus because he doesn't have a car.
"I have had car trouble, and my engine blew up," Green says. "The bus is the only way I can get to school."
Riders are hoping that officials can come up with another way to save the bus system. They are even willing to pay a little extra to ride.
"If the fares went up, if they didn't go up too much," Green says, "It would still be worth it."
Proponents of the one percent tax increase are planning to put it on the ballot again in two years. But they are considering changing it to only one half percent.