New GET route changes coming, despite strike

Published 08/15 2014 06:54PM

Updated 08/15 2014 07:03PM

BAKERSFIELD, CA - Golden Empire Transit is moving along with new route changes come October, despite the strike.

Several agencies, including the Bakersfield Homeless Center, had their bus stops taken away two years ago after GET officials eliminated those stops.

But now after much controversy, the bus stops will return.

"It's something that we've wanted and needed for a very long time, so the news is very welcomed," said Louis Gill, Bakersfield Homeless Center.

Two years ago, the homeless shelter bus stop was remove, as new routes were implemented.

People staying at the shelter, who rely on the bus, are forced to walk to Washington Street and California Avenue, a half-mile away.

The homeless center says for some, the walk is extremely hard.

"When you've got toddlers and strollers, there are no sidewalks and there is no lighting, it is dangerous and difficult," said Gill.

The route changes also eliminated stops in front of Clinica Sierra Vista and BARC, Bakersfield Association of Retarded Citizens.

"Our patients have just been struggling with it, they've had to walk much longer, their showing up late for appointments, their not making appointments," said CEO Steve Schilling, Clinica Sierra Vista.

These agencies feel several meetings with city and county officials played a key role in GET's decision.

"I am certain the reason this is happening is because of the efforts from both our city councilmen and our members of the Board of Supervisors," said Gill.

"The role of the Ad Hoc committee was to provide a forum for discussion. In those discussions, it became clear that there were some customers who were not being served as well as they could have been. That's why we made the changes," said Gina Hayden, Golden Empire Transit.

"Thankfully it's finally happening because our people have been through enough. They don't need to be unsafe in just trying to get to a bus," continued Gill.

Once the strike is over and the bus stop is placed in front of the homeless shelter, stops will be made twice in the mornings and evenings.

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