Transit authority plans for possible cuts



At its Nov. 4 meeting, the San Luis Obispo Regional Transit Authority prepared contingency plans to cut weekend service and reduce nighttime hours in case of further budget cutbacks while at the same time clearing the way to increase the salary of the authority’s executive director by thousands of dollars.

The authority, a semi-public bus company that operates under the patronage of the county and its cities, voted to maintain its present budget and level of service, though board members said the public should be prepared to deal with cutbacks if revenues continue to fall.

The RTA executive board authorized its staff in October to prepare an emergency plan for a 10 percent cut—about $270,000—from its present budget for the last five months of the current fiscal year. Some of the options for cutbacks included eliminating weekend service, a move that would save $117,000; decreasing weekday evening service by two hours for a savings of $39,000; and raising the base fare from $1.25 to $1.50, which would save $31,250.

At the same meeting, the board unanimously voted to expand the job description and pay range of Ed King, the executive director, a step toward increasing his pay to match other transit agency heads, according to an RTA staff report.

 Last August, the RTA moved its entire operations in-house after outsourcing its driver and maintenance tasks to an outside company. As a result, the RTA went from five employees to more than a hundred. Board members said an increase in responsibility requires a commensurate increase in salary range.

Though the board won’t be voting on King’s possible salary increase until at least February, his salary could go up by $30,000 thanks to his new job description and salary range.

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