EMBARK Link proposing cutting routes due to budget cuts

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OKLAHOMA - The impact of our states budget cuts have affected communities all over Oklahoma.

One example is EMBARK Link, which provides public transportation in our community for people without transportation.

The night and weeding service is reducing staff and dropping routes.

EMBARK is forced to make a 5 1/2 percent budget cut, which means hiring for open positions is at a standstill right now and some people who use EMBARK Link could lose their only form of transportation.

"So, 5 1/2 percent in a single year is a pretty big impact," said Michael Scroggins, EMBARK Public Information Officer.

EMBARK is finding ways to trim costs now that their share of municipal sales tax revenue is less.

"To do that, we've had to consolidate positions." Scroggins said.

Also, EMBARK Link routes are on the chopping block.

Currently, Airport Express runs the service in four city zones, helping people without cars at nights and on weekends.

"We have people that use this to go to work in the evenings or to take care of their quality of life, like on Sundays to go shopping or to go to church," Scroggins said.

Every ride eliminated, which includes pickup and drop off, saves EMBARK $48.52.

By eliminating all routes, that's just over $1 million in savings.

"If I were to lose my way to work, I would lose everything I've worked so hard for," said Tara Chavez.

Chavez said her route is still safe from the cuts, but she feels for those who could be impacted.

"It hurts me for them, because I can't imagine going through it myself," Chavez said.

If you feel strongly about the EMBARK Link service, the city would like to hear from you.

A public meeting is scheduled for next Wednesday at the transit center at the intersection for northwest 5th & Hudson.

The meeting starts at 7 p.m.