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TARC leaders propose moving up bus service cuts, in case of JCPS deal

A red "TARC" sign on the side of a building
Kyeland Jackson
Under TARC's proposal, 19 bus routes would have Saturday-level service on weekdays and three service routes would be discontinued.

The Transit Authority of River City, Louisville’s bus system, has proposed reducing services on some routes at the end of next month.

As the agency deals with a financial crisis and potential layoffs, the TARC board of directors approved a plan in April to reduce service next year.

But TARC’s new proposal this week would accelerate the timeline for service reductions and cuts. The changes would impact 22 TARC routes in total and take effect on June 30 this year. It would not apply to TARC3 paratransit routes.

Under the proposal, 19 bus routes would have Saturday-level service on weekdays and three service routes would be discontinued.

The reductions would impact routes on Dixie Highway, Muhammad Ali Boulevard and Bardstown Road, among others. The three eliminated routes would be:

  • Route #46 National Turnpike-Outer Loop
  • Route #73 West Louisville-River Ridge
  • Route #74 Chamberlain Lane-River Ridge

TARC is facing a $30 million operating budget deficit and its board has proposed $34 million in cuts over the next two years.

The proposed service changes for next month hinge on a deal to shift TARC drivers to Jefferson County Public Schools, which has a bus driver shortage and faces transportation cuts.

Louisville Mayor Craig Greenberg said last month he backs a plan for JCPS to hire laid off TARC drivers.

TARC leaders said in a press release that city and community leaders are negotiating over how to make that happen, and the proposal to make service cuts next month could help free up drivers.

If the negotiations fall through, TARC said in a press release it would withdraw the recent proposal and go back to the original 2025 timeline approved by its board for cuts.

TARC is also preparing to start a “community-focused network redesign process” called TARC 2025, using $1.2 million in federal grant money.

TARC is seeking public feedback on the proposal with meetings on the following dates:

  • Tuesday, June 4 from 4-7 p.m. at Union Station, 1000 West Broadway
  • Wednesday, June 5 from 5-8 p.m. at Douglass Boulevard Christian Church

Residents can also comment online, via TARC’s Customer Care Line at (502) 585-1234, or by email to publiccomment@ridetarc.org.

Divya is LPM's Race & Equity Reporter. Email Divya at dkarthikeyan@lpm.org.

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