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Westport Starts Up Citizens Transit Committee

WESTPORT, Conn. – Ever since the Board of Finance reduced the Westport Transit District budget for next year, there’s been a renewed interest in the town’s public transportation system. That’s why First Selectman Gordon Joseloff created the Citizens Transit Committee.

“The new committee will examine transit operations in Westport involving the commuter shuttle and after-school buses and offer recommendations on how these operations might be more efficient and serve our community better,” Joseloff said Thursday in a statement.

The finance board’s decision to cut the 2012-13 transit budget by $113,753, and then partially restore those funds, is evidence that changes need to be made to the transit system, Joseloff said. Such changes, he added, might include increasing fees, modifying routes and times, and adding marketing to boost ridership.

On April 11, the finance board voted to restore $53,753 to the transit budget, saying it would restore the remaining $60,000 in six months if progress has been made toward making operations more efficient.

“Setting a six-month deadline to show improvements is too short a time to achieve such results and creates unnecessary uncertainties in the lives of commuters who rely on the shuttles,” Joseloff said.

On Wednesday night, two committees of the town’s legislative body, the Representative Town Meeting, voted in favor of restoring the $60,000. The full RTM will vote on the issue at its May 7 meeting.

Joseloff invites residents interested in the town’s transit system to serve on the Citizens Transit Committee. Residents with experience in transit operations, management consultant work or similar qualifications are especially urged to apply.

Interested applicants should submit a resume to selectman@westportct.gov or via regular mail to Selectman’s Office, 110 Myrtle Ave., Westport, CT 06880. The deadline for applications is May 1.

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