Homeless Center residents fret over GET bus changes

Some homeless women and children are worried about more than where they are going to sleep. They're concerned about how they are going to get around because, come Sunday, GET busses will not stop in front of their shelter.

Some homeless women and children are worried about more than where they are going to sleep. They're concerned about how they are going to get around because, come Sunday, GET buses will not stop in front of their shelter.

It's part of a two-year study to make GET bus routes faster and cheaper. But, homeless shelter residents say the new stop is too far away and they feel like they are being thrown under the bus.

"Without any reliable transportation close by or in a convenient location, it makes it really hard on us," said Shantee Jimenez.

Shantee Jimenez is a single mother of four and uses this bus stop every day. But, come Sunday, she and her kids will have to use another stop that's four blocks away.

"It's a huge issue. We actually did that walk the other day, and it was awful," said Jimenez.

The stop is at California Ave. and Washington St. and it forces them to walk a half mile across East Truxtun Ave., a very busy street that's been the location of two pedestrian fatalities in the last decade.

"It's dangerous. Is it going to take a small child being killed or hurt for us to wake up and say this is a bad idea because it's a horrible idea?", said Louis Gill, CEO of Bakersfield Homeless Center.

"I could do it, but a lot of the people that are handicapped or have children can't do that," said Tammy Willhite, a Bakersfield Homeless Center resident.

"I had a knee replacement surgery and I cannot make the walk. I tried it and I got halfway, and I just can't make the walk," said resident Brenda Walters.

GET bus officials say they eliminated the stop to decrease the cost and speed up the route.

"In order to serve the homeless shelter we have to move off of California Avenue. We have to go into a residential street and come back out. That slows the bus down," said Gina Hayden, Spokesperson for the Golden Empire Transit.

She cited that the majority of people they surveyed don't mind the new routes.

"70 percent of the people say this is a better service for them or it doesn't change anything for them," said Hayden.

The Homeless Center doesn't accept their reasoning.

"I understand and that there are cost savings. What's a kid worth?," said Gill.

For Jimenez, it's just another thing she has to worry about. "It's very convenient where it's at, and for them to take it, it just makes it that much harder. As if we weren't going through enough, we have to worry about this."

There is a service called GET-a-Lift for disabled riders to get curb to curb service if they can't walk to the bus stop. But, you have to apply and qualify.

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