The cancellation of Lake Havasu City’s contract for shuttle voucher service leaves officials with limited options in replacing the public transit program.
Operations Director Gary Parsons said the end of the shuttle voucher program, which replaced Havasu Area Transit after state funding was pulled, may be the end of public transit in Havasu for the time being unless city staff and the City Council can figure how to drum up a solution with city funds.
“We don’t have a whole lot of options,” Parsons said Monday. “Most likely there will be no program or the city can step in and operate its own program.”
Parsons said he hopes to receive direction from the City Council Tuesday before meeting with the Lake Havasu City Interagency Council, the partnering agency that qualified low-income riders for discounted vouchers to use the service.
Parsons said if the city does decide to create a service from its own funds, it will be “very limited.”
“We’re definitely not fat with money,” said Parsons about the city’s operations budget. “We’ll put together something or nothing.”
The decision will affect the 35 to 40 riders who use the curb-to-curb service to travel to necessary destinations including work, medical appointments and grocery shopping.
Parsons said he hopes there will be something for the people of this community, but he admits Havasu isn’t an easy place to conduct a public transit service given its low density and population spread out between four distinct housing districts.
“I’ve always been a strong advocate for the community,” Parsons said. “We need public support, we need ridership. Lake Havasu City is a very costly place to operate public transit…There’s no core to town. People are all over the place. It’s definitely a challenge.”
The shuttle voucher program will officially stop service May 15. Harlan Stilwell, the owner of The Shuttle, said he cancelled the contract because the revenue was not covering the cost.
The service was offered to all residents but only qualified low-income riders received vouchers.