City officials have put off until March 18 a decision on paying for a trial bus line that would transport the elderly to shopping centers, medical buildings and the city senior center.
In the meantime, the council asked the city staff to gather more information on the proposed bus program and expand a previously planned city survey to include senior transportation issues.
The nonprofit South County Senior Services organization is proposing to run a bus for older Laguna Niguel residents twice a week for up to four months at a cost of about $6,500.
Council members Mark Goodman and Eddie Rose argued hotly over whether the bus line should be started up immediately.
Goodman voted with council members Linda Lindholm and Mimi Krogius Walters to wait for the survey and have more information before making a decision.
Rose said the trial period for the bus should start right away.
“Until this program is put into place, nobody can really tell how well it will work,” he said.
In the past, the city had let the county administer its share of federal Community Development Block Grant funds, which pay for such services as sidewalk repairs and social programs.
Beginning this year, the city will take over running the grant program and city officials decided to conduct a survey to assess residents’ needs.
The request to initiate the bus program was made by the Laguna Niguel Senior Citizens Club, which pledged $1,000 to help run the transportation line.