WEIRTON - Gas prices are tapering off but not in time to help the Weirton Transit Corp. come in on budget as the end of the current fiscal year approaches.
Transit officials reported the organization is currently $3,000 over budget on fuel - originally budgeted at $59,000 for the year.
According to Transit Manager Kevin Beynon, the only solution to the problem at this point is taking the anticipated $8,000 shortfall from a savings account holding $30,000. He said it disturbs him to have to go that route as he would like to see that funding remain in an account, but at this point there is no other choice.
"This will help us clear the books and catch up on everything," he said.
Beynon said raising fares will not work as the local public transporation company has the highest rates in the state. He said something will have to eventually be done.
With so many other projects taking priority, Beynon added that the transit service is working on routes that will give residents more leeway when walking to the bus stops and could perhaps raise the rates for curbside services. He said riders are heeding requests for advance calls for deviations from the regular route.
Before any changes in the routes or rates, Beynon said it must be approved by the state to see if Weirton Transit is able to add on the extra fee. He said the increase would not be much because he doesn't want to hurt those utilizing the bus, but something must be done to cover the extra time and cost for curbside services.
(Dickson can be contacted at email@example.com)