BAKERSFIELD, Calif. - On Tuesday night, the public had their first chance to sound off about the Golden Empire Transit bus route changes that went into effect just over a week ago.
GET officials said the changes were supposed to provide faster service and shorter routes to the riders who need it the most, but the dozens of people who showed up Tuesday night said they're finding just the opposite.
East Bakersfield resident Nancy Lancing is hearing impaired and relies on her two guide dogs to help her get around town. Something else Lancing relies on is the GET bus, but over the past 10 days, that reliance has quickly become a thing of the past.
"You've got to hear us," said Lancing when addressing the GET Board of Directors. "You've got ear plugs in your ears,. (You're) listening to who you choose to listen to instead of the people you need to listen to which is us, your riders."
Route changes that went into effect on Oct. 7 have made it a lot more difficult for Lancing to ride. She said GET officials have removed the only stop near her house.
"We're good to show you the money for the passes and stuff, but then what's it get us? asked Lancing. "(We're) stranded and locked up in our own apartments when we have no family, no friends (and we) don't drive. That bus was all we had to rely on and you take it away from us."
Others pleaded with the board.
"You have got to fix this system," said rider Katherine White.
Lancing vowed to keep fighting for those who need the bus service the most.
"If you're going to ignore me, which is not advised, I will go above your heads," said Lancing. "I'll keep screaming until somebody listens. This is unfair to all of us."
GET officials said the next step is to work out kinks in the system and get all routes running smoothly.