TAPS Reaches Roadblock and Suspends Urban Services - KTEN.com - Texoma news, weather and sports

TAPS Reaches Roadblock and Suspends Urban Services

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SHERMAN & DENISON, TX--Due to a lack of federal funds, Texoma Area Paratransit System's urban services will be suspended starting midnight Friday. This will affect Sherman and Denison city commuters as well as the Austin College 'Roo route and the Grayson County College Viking route. An estimated 70 drives will be layed off. Nearly 800 TAPS passengers will no longer get rides.

TAPS bus passengers sat tight until they got word that urban services were suspended. The Texoma Area Paratransit system halted the program due to not receiving $1.15 million in federal funds.  

"If I didn't have TAPS to ride I'd be forced to either drive my own car or carpool with my roommates because they also go to school," Brianna Hines said, Grayson County College sophomore.  

"A couple times a day--going back and forth just to school," Julia Ogeden said, Grayson County College sophomore.

On a college campus where parking is sparse, Grayson County College sophomore Brianna Hines usually takes the bus.

"Getting to campus on time--finding a parking spot--having to fight for a parking spot because parking is really limited on campus because the student population has grown so much lately and there's just not enough parking for everybody," Hines said. 

TAPS representatives said the delay in federal funds is due to an unrelated conflict involving the United Food and Commercial Workers Union, which 12 TAPS employees formerly belonged to.

In order to obtain some federal funds, the TAPS Board of Directors came to an agreement with the US Department of Labor. However the Tennessee-based union did not come to an agreement. 

"We'll have to seek another funding avenue," Cary Wacker said, TAPS Board of Directors Chair. "We would then basically have to at least temporarily suspend services here." 

Urban services include the Sherman-Denison area, the Austin College 'Roo route and the Grayson County College Viking route.

"It's a big help--especially to students who don't have a car, or if it's a family of four sharing one vehicle," Hines said.

Now that urban services are suspended, carpooling may be the only other option for some students.

A Grayson County College spokesperson said the school will provide a campus-exclusive shuttle that will transport students from the main campus to the west residential halls for the last two weeks of school.

An Austin College representative said the shutdown shouldn't affect most transportation because the majority of students live on campus. Students who use the bus to leave the grounds may be affected.

The TAPS Board of Directors said they will meet Monday to discuss future funding solutions.

Jen French, KTEN News

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