EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

New Hampshire

June 11, 2014

Salem may cut CART bus service

Selectmen say service isn't worth the cost

(Continued)

CART makes regular stops at the Ingram Senior Center and the Salem Housing Authority's 182 apartments.

Housing Authority executive director Diane Kierstead has said approximately 10 percent of tenants use the service and would have to find other transportation if CART were eliminated.

In the past two years, selectmen voted to restore money for CART in the town's proposed budget after Hickey cut the funding.

Stoller and other CART representatives have said the service would be in serious trouble if Salem withdrew. CART has an annual budget of approximately $639,000.

"I think we would be in a tenuous situation," Stoller said yesterday.

The service's shuttle bus makes stops in Salem on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays, Stoller said. CART also provides rides by appointment as part of its demand response service and also offers a taxi voucher service, she said.

Hargreaves said one person called his business at 5:30 one evening to complain because the individual was stranded at Parkland Medical Center and told a ride home wasn't available.

"I feel we can do a better job with a cab company," he said.

Hargreaves said he's received similar calls in the past and that Stoller has told the board the problem would be resolved.

"You told us last year, 'That's not going to happen again,'" he said.

Stoller said the service can only do so much.

"You can't ride every hour the bus isn't running," she said.

Stoller said she was surprised selectmen were so critical of CART.

"I was totally taken aback," she said. "The statistics are being played incorrectly. Statistics without an explanation is a blurred line of tables."

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