Bay Town Trolley May See Changes

By  | 

BAY COUNTY - Bay County's Transportation Planning Organization has been asking local governments for a big increase in funding this year for the Bay Town Trolley system, but so far most are saying "no".

Without the additional month, trolley officials will have to make some changes.

The Bay County Transportation Planning Organization asked Bay County commissioners for more than $40,000 above last year's funding.

The TPO asked Panama City commissioners for an additional $30,000.

TPO officials say they need the money to fill a $100,000 budget gap.

"They asked for the increase. It was not clear what it was going to be used for," said Bay County Commissioner, Bill Dozier.

Both said 'no." So did Lynn Haven, Springfield, Callaway, Parker and Gulf Coast State College trustees.

The TPO requested a total of an additional $20,000 from those entities.

So far, the only city to say yes is Panama City Beach. The council voted Thursday to give the trolley an additional $6,000.

"Panama City Beach has the highest ridership of all of the county on the trolley system. When I drive up and down on Panama City Beach, we see a lot of people getting on and off. A lot of people at the stops," said Panama City Beach City Councilman, Keith Curry.

Last year, the TPO received about $150,000 to operate the trolley. They say they need the extra $100,000 because of increasing operating costs.

The rejections now have the new trolley management company, First Transit, considering some tough calls.

"We'll have to look at cutting some of the service and we'll have to take a serious look at Saturday," said First Transit Transportation Coordinator, Nancy Lohr.

Despite a fare increase earlier this year, TPO officials say trolley ridership is up over last year.