The Amador Transit bus schedule will soon have less routes offered due to a budget deficit.

Amador County will have reduced bus service following a specially scheduled transit workshop Thursday morning in which the Amador Transit Board of Directors approved reductions in the number of routes provided each day by Amador Transit.

Following a public hearing where a number of people who use the transit services urged against cuts, the Board of Directors voted to implement the following changes: Three trips a day will be dropped from the Jackson-Sutter Creek shuttle; one bus will be reduced to five routes a day from seven and another reduced to six routes from seven. Arrival times will be readjusted to spread them throughout the day and additional stops at the Regal Theaters/DMV offices in Jackson and the Interfaith Food Bank will be added. The number of bus routes to Ione will be reduced by one, with the mid-day bus dropped from the schedule. The morning and evening routes will remain. The Transit Agency will also expand the service area of Dial-A-Ride. The direct trip service will become available in the Upper Ridge Road and State Highway 88 areas.

The cuts to service are driven by two factors faced by the transit agency. First, they have a budget deficit of more than $200,000 in the last fiscal year that needs to be closed. Second, the array of grants and subsidies that the agency uses to fund its operation all come with a requirement that the agency cover at least 10 percent of its costs with ride fares. Amador Transit is very close to dropping below that 10 percent line, which would place much of the agencies funding in jeopardy.

“We must either lose these routes or risk losing all the routes,” said Keith Sweet, a Jackson City Council member who sits on the Transit Board of Directors.

The Board of Directors continues to seek additional cost savings for the system. They directed agency staff to bring forward proposals at a future meeting for an increase in bus fares and a reduction in routes at the far eastern edge of the county.