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Money-losing buses could get ads, service cuts

City transportation commissioners plan to discuss options for turning around money-losing bus services for seniors and the disabled, contending it is their job to review how funds are being spent despite City Council direction to maintain the status quo.

David Kriske, a senior transportation planner for the city, said that in discussions about cuts to Got Wheels! — the bus service for the city’s youth that was recently cut back to summer months — staff also looked at possible changes to BurbankBus, including allowing seniors to ride the service for free and having the bus line run the entire day.

The cost for operating Got Wheels! and for seniors and disabled passengers is estimated at $2.2 million, far more than expected revenues of $1.7 million.

Options for bringing costs more in line with income could include service cuts and opening the buses up to advertisements to generate more revenue, officials said. The call to action comes even after the City Council earlier this year acquiesced to demands from about two dozen BurbankBus riders to maintain free “door-to-destination” services for disabled and senior passengers.


“The City Council doesn’t want us to touch it, but we can certainly discuss it,” Kriske said during a Traffic Commission meeting this week.

City officials have contacted Titan Media, CBS Outdoor and Clear Channel — major advertising firms that sell ad placements on buses for Metrolink, Orange County Transportation Authority, Long Beach Transit and other agencies — to explore additional revenue options, he added.

Burbank has also inked a contract with a new bus firm, MV Transportation Inc., that will save the city $260,000 this year. The firm operates the Glendale Beeline bus service and the Commuter Express in Los Angeles.

The savings brings expenditures for BurbankBus to $1.6 million with estimated revenues of $1.9 million, according to the city.


Any changes in bus services would have to be approved by the City Council.