HAUPPAGUE - Suffolk County plans to eliminate eight bus routes to help close a $78 million budget shortfall.
The affected routes are S71, 7D/E, S35, S90, 5A, 1B, 10A and the 10D/E.
The busiest route on the chopping block serves the Town of Brookhaven, carrying 159 riders daily. Most of those riders are students on the Selden campus of Suffolk Community College. It also makes stops at Stony Brook University.
Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone says the routes they decided to cut will create the biggest savings and have the lowest impact.
Aaron Watkins-Lopez, the organizer for the Long Island Bus Riders Union, doesn't see it that way.
"The people that take these buses are not taking it for fun," says Watkins-Lopez. "They need to take these buses to get to work…This is going to absolutely devastate their access to health care and health services, as well as their access to getting to work."
There will be public hearings on the bus cuts on Sept. 8 and 9 in Hauppauge and Riverhead. The cuts are expected to take place on Oct. 3.