Local bus route cuts may leave weekend riders stranded

(Photo by Chelsea Edwards)
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KILLEEN, Texas (KWTX) Starting Monday, there are fewer options for those using public transportation in Bell County.

HOP officials say rises in costs and a lack of additional funding have resulted in necessary cuts to bus service.

One of the biggest changes is the loss of service in all Bell County cities on Saturdays.

Another major change is the removal of Route 5 which runs off of 190 and down South Fort Hood Street.

Parts of Routes 2, 4 and 100 will be moved from less busy areas to cover the busiest stops on Route 5 according to a press release.

Also, a transfer station is being added at Old 440 Road to connect the adjusted routes.

Buses will also stop running during times when there are fewer riders in both Harker Heights and Copperas Cove.

In Copperas Cove, daily service will end at Walmart at 5:45 p.m. instead of 6:45 p.m.

In the Heights, the last service hour will also be cut along with routes scheduled between 10:35 a.m. and 1:35 pm.

All Saturday rides are cancelled, including ADA services for the disabled.

A HOP representative says although there are cuts to service, there are no planned layoffs of HOP bus drivers.

Funding for the HOP comes from federal money that is matched by local cities.

The Hill Country Transit District which manages the buses asked for additional funding from the cities of Harker Heights and Copperas Cove along with an increase of more than $300,000 from the City of Killeen.

Those requests were denied before the cuts were made official.