HART Bus – Worth the money?
The Town of Huntington 2011 Adopted Budget says there were 251,350 riders of HART Bus in 2010 and the 2012 Preliminary Budget says there are expected to be 240,000 this year. So if each rider goes round trip HART Bus is serving about 500 distinct riders a day. The budget for HART Bus (pg. 136) in the 2011 Adopted Budget is $3,589,579 and in the 2012 Preliminary Budget it is $3,651,738. The revenues for each of these years is about $205,000. The price charged per trip per adult at the most is $1.25. HART bus operates 20 buses. HART bus is running at a yearly loss of over $3 million.
The home delivered meal program and the senior center bus rides and para-transit service are part of this budget (28,150 trips in 2010 and 25,000 this year). They are very worthy programs in our opinion but even these programs have seen a reduction in use.
Why are we spending millions of dollars to subsidize bus trips for users of the buses. Perhaps this is a program that needs to be looked at a little closer. Some programs have just been funded year after year without anyone doing an analysis of their usefulness. We wonder when the last needs analysis was done for HART Bus.
We have seen, recently, that other municipal and county governments have cut back on these programs and maybe we should too. After noticing a reduction in use the Town of North Hempstead decided to reimburse seniors half the cost of a taxi fare which saves the Town hundreds of thousands of dollars a year