MILFORD - For Katrina Anderson, LIFT bus number 6 is her saving grace. She counts on the $3 roundtrip ride to Framingham and back being available so she get to the Social Security office there to file her disability paperwork. Without a car, she'd be stuck if the regional bus service weren't available.
For Katrina Anderson, LIFT bus number 6 is her saving grace.
She counts on the $3 roundtrip ride to Framingham and back being available so she get to the Social Security office there to file her disability paperwork.
Without a car, she'd be stuck if the regional bus service weren't available.
"If there's no bus service ... we have no train," she said. "If we lose the bus in Milford, we lose all transportation getting out of town."
With the Regional Transit Authority taking control of the shuttle service Sunday, Milford is being forced to decide whether it wants buses to continue operating into and out of town.
If the answer is yes, taxpayers are facing an annual cost in the $40,000 ballpark. If officials opt out, bus service to town will likely be lost.
Currently, about 65 Milford riders are served a day by LIFT bus 6, that loops from town around into Holliston, Ashland, Framingham, Natick and back, according to RTA Administrator Ed Carr.
Spotted several times running through town yesterday, the bus had no passengers onboard.
As the town starts weighing the pros and cons to keeping the service, selectmen say careful consideration is needed given Milford's unique situation.
Neighboring towns such as Holliston are being assessed MBTA costs and are being allowed to use those funds for the new bus route cost, Carr said. The service is currently free for Milford while LIFT is operated by Framingham on federal and state grants, he said.
Milford is not assessed by the MBTA because it is one town removed from a commuter rail station, but would have to come up with new municipal funding for the bus service upon the changeover to RTA control, Carr said.
"Milford's in a different boat (from neighboring towns)," selectmen Chairman William Buckley said.
Given Milford's unique position of having to come up with new cash, Carr said he understands the town needs to think.
"Essentially the money they would pay for their portion of the service would be coming out of their municipal budget," Carr said. "They have a tougher decision to make."
Carl Damigella, a Holliston selectman and the town's RTA representative, said the ideal situation is Milford comes up with its share so that transportation lines stay open between the town and MetroWest communities.
"What we need to remember is the people who use the service," he said. "You would hate to cut off their ability to get to a doctor's appointment ... or get to work."
Damigella expects the bus service will continue as it currently runs for the first 90 days of RTA's control. He hopes RTA members will be able to meet with Milford officials in the coming weeks and months to discuss its options and the implications.
"We'd love to have Milford part of (RTA's service)," Damigella said. "I think it would be worthwhile for everyone."
Danielle Ameden can be reached at 508-634-7521 or firstname.lastname@example.org.