Suffolk bus riders rally against proposed route cuts

A decision is expected to be made by Suffolk lawmakers in a few weeks.

A decision is expected to be made by Suffolk lawmakers in a few weeks. (10/21/15)

SMITHTOWN - Protesters rallied in Smithtown Wednesday against a proposal that would cut as many as 10 bus routes from Suffolk County Transit.

The proposal would cut a total of $10 million -- $6 million would be cut from fixed route buses and another $4 million would be slashed from buses for the disabled.

Suffolk Transit carries 22,000 passengers every day. Hundreds of riders use Suffolk County Accessible Transportation or SCAT buses, which are used by those with disabilities.

"This is a service that is imperative for a lot of people to get to work, to get to doctor's appointments, to get to live their lives, essentially," says Aaron Watkins Lopez, of the Long Island Bus Riders Union.

Many disabled commuters protested outside the Suffolk Legislature and then testified to lawmakers holding hearings on the proposed cuts.

According to the Legislature, Nassau County gets $63 million from the state, more than double the bus transit dollars Suffolk gets. They also say Suffolk Transit's ridership has risen 30 percent over the last 15 years.

Suffolk Transit says no final decisions have been made as yet on what routes to cut.

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