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Funding for Got Wheels! is suspended

Students who use the Got Wheels! bus service after school and around the city will have to make other plans for this summer after the City Council this week voted to move ahead with eliminating the program.

Since February, city officials have been talking about cutting or eliminating some of the bus service because less money is available to fund the programs. Services like Burbank Bus and Got Wheels! rely heavily on sales tax revenue that has steadily declined during the economic downturn.

The popularity of Got Wheels! among teens appears to have led to its own demise. Transportation Commission Chairman Paul Dyson said students primarily use the service to get to and from school, which was not the intended purpose of the transit system and violates the terms of using supporting tax revenue.

It was also sapping money from Burbank Bus and door-to-destination transit services for seniors and the disabled.


Mayor Jess Talamantes said the Transit Task Force, of which he and Councilman Gary Bric are members, recommended the program be eliminated because it is too costly and threatens the other two services.

Previous studies into saving Got Wheels! through a mix of service reductions and private contracts determined that not enough money could be saved.

“We would break even if we contract out the service,” said David Kriske, a city transportation planner.

Going from four to three buses during the school year would save $60,000, and charging a fare to non-students could yield minor returns, Kriske added.


Officials left open the possibility of using an advertising revenue approach to supplementing the bus line, noting that Burbank is considered a potential market.

Councilwoman Emily Gabel-Luddy said she also supported adding a new Burbank Bus line to backfill some of the transit loss for riders.

“Metro may cut the hillside line, and it would be good if we’re positioned with smaller vehicles to pick up that service and get funding from Metro to keep the service,” she said.