Citibus is losing $400,000 because of Senate Bill 8, which is meant to regulate public transportation. That means Citibus has to make changes to be compliant with the Affordable Care Act.
"We had consultants come in to Lubbock and perform a very thorough review of our transit system and our routes and the service that we provide," said Maurice Pearl, Citibus GM.
On the table to help make up those funds: route cuts in many popular areas of town. Board members said they are working hard to avoid cutting any routes, but are having to make some tough decisions.
Currently, Medicaid pays Citibus about $26 a month for Medicaid patients. That will soon be reduced to $23.
"In reality, that affects all of those employees that businesses employ, but it also affects how we can service that area as far as just getting the human side of individuals to medical appointments or to the grocery store. just the quality of life will deteriorate in that hole right there," said Jay Jacobus, Chair of the Transit Advisory Board.
The company is also about to get a 20% rate hike to cover health insurance for many employees who are going from part time to full time. And another factor, the high costs of fuel.
Businesses along the proposed route cuts, said Citibus won't be the only business hurting if buses stop running those parts of town.
"Any company looking to grow, people are going to look for public transportation is something more people are trending towards. The city's going to increase rates in one area and cut services in another, we have to work on that," said Matthew Jordan, owner of Yoga Bean, located on 34th Street. "We also partner with several non-profits and a lot of folks who use those non profits also use Citibus as their main source of transportation. So some of our community partners will definitely feel that impact."
The board will hold public meetings after the city council finalizes the budget sometime in September.