Youth rides may end in Burbank

The days appear numbered for Got Wheels!, Burbank's summer bus system for youth, after city officials this week proposed cutting the program.

While roughly 2,000 kids are registered to use Got Wheels! — the summer bus line for 10- to 18-year-olds that circulates to schools, skate parks, libraries, malls and community centers — officials logged just 475 trips over a two-month period last summer.

The bus program costs roughly $61,000 to operate each year.

"It's never been terribly efficient," said Community Development Director Joy Forbes. "Probably a lot of parents are unsure if public transit is the appropriate system for their preteen child, and I think Burbank is kind of walkable, too."

The program had at one time run year-round until officials in 2011 noticed the bus being used by students to get to and from school, Forbes said, adding that Proposition A money — which is generated through a half-cent sales tax and used to fund Got Wheels! — is not allowed to fund school transportation.

Eliminating the summer program would free up funds for the city's other struggling transportation services, like the senior, disabled and commuter buses.

"We have a laundry list of transportation items that we currently fund at a smaller level because we can't fund them at the larger level because of Got Wheels!," Forbes said.

While the senior, disabled and commuter bus services are not at-risk in the near future, expenses are going up while revenue is sluggish.

"The good news is sales tax [revenues] hopefully are picking up, which means potentially more money coming in," Forbes said.

A public hearing for the city's budget is slated for June 4.


Follow Alene Tchekmedyian on Google+ and on Twitter: @atchek.

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