Friday, June 27, 2008

MATA Watchdog Seeks Fair Fares

Posted By on Fri, Jun 27, 2008 at 4:00 AM

Johnnie Mosley says he's been riding the bus for "a looong time."

Mosley founded Citizens for Better Service, a MATA watchdog group, in 1993.

"At the time, MATA had a proposal to increase bus fares and decrease routes," he says. "A group of us riders thought it would be best to form a group to speak for the concerns of bus riders."

Though they speak out any time MATA proposed to increase fares or cut routes, Mosley says the group also deals with complaints against bus drivers. Though MATA has a complaint line, riders don't always feel they have been heard when they use it.

"MATA has some good bus drivers, but occasionally drivers won't even answer a simple question," Mosley says. "Once my group becomes aware of their complaints, we'll take their concerns directly to [Will] Hudson."

With higher gas prices — MATA's next gas contract will charge them $4.52 a gallon versus the current $2.87 — Mosley is worried that the transit company will once again try to raise fares or cut services. He would like to see them increase services instead.

"There are some areas of town where, if you miss one bus, you may have to wait another hour, an hour and a half for the next one. That's terrible," he says. "The more people see buses running in their neighborhoods, the more likely they are to get on one."

"If push comes to shove and they have to cut routes and increase fares, we want to make sure that it's fair and equitable," Mosley says.

To reach Citizens for Better Service, call Mosley at 789-6463. -- Mary Cashiola

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