EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

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August 27, 2013

CART considers cutbacks

Riders will feel impact of funding losses

(Continued)

In the meantime, there hasn’t been a single person tasked with seeking the grants needed to fund the service, Stoller said.

Although Stoller said CART does not have a deficit, she said the organization’s finances need to get back on track.

“I am determined to see it progress,” she said.

Reduced funding has put on hold plans to establish a bus route in Hampstead, she said. But improvements are planned for the Salem shuttle service, Stoller said.

There could be other route changes as well, but nothing concrete at this point, Stoller said.

“We’re just starting to look at that,” she said.

Other possible changes at CART will be discussed when the 10-member board meets today, according to Stoller and Sioras.

The service will continue to make on-demand calls to Hampstead and other towns, where patrons call and schedule a ride. These are often people who need rides to medical appointments and have no other way of getting there, she said.

“We’re helping to keep people alive by providing this service to those who need it,” Stoller said.

CART will continue its taxi voucher program that began last year. This system serves riders who need to travel outside CART’s Monday through Friday, 8 a.m.-to-5 p.m. schedule.

Stoller said she is still becoming accustomed to her new position and has been putting in a lot of hours, even though it’s only a 20-hour-a week position.

“I didn’t kid myself — we didn’t have the money for a full-time position,” she said. “I’m going to start riding the bus soon to become familiar with the fares, the buses and the routes.”

Sioras said Stoller, a real estate agent who supervised public transit systems when she lived in New York years ago, has the experience and determination to help solve CART’s funding dilemma.

Stoller, 72, is being paid $30 an hour, he said.

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