ClasTran cutting service to JeffCo senior centers

There will soon be no free lunch for some seniors. ClasTran routes to Jefferson County senior centers are about to be cut. It's all because ClasTran only has enough local funding for half a year.

ClasTran seems to go down the same road every six months with a lack of funding routinely threatening routes.

Driver Terri Cline says it's different this time.

"The economy is a lot worse now than it was three{}years ago. They might not have a ride," she said of her seniors.

On Monday, seniors sat down on the bus and saw{}a notice. It said all routes to Jefferson County senior centers would be terminated Thursday. But they can still catch a ride for four dollars each way.

"That's forty dollars a week if they go every day. That's 160 dollars a month. These seniors live on a monthly check," said Cline. "I{}cannot afford it. They cannot afford it. There's no way."

For some seniors, ClasTran is their only ride and the senior centers often provide their only meals.

"I{}bite my nails.{}I worry.{}I stress real bad," said Cline.

Drivers have already been told the 27 county routes will be reduced to just four and drivers will be laid off.

ClasTran's director says it's all because the county and city can't seem to agree on sharing funding again.{}He also says the county won't provide more when 60 percent of the riders live in Birmingham.

But there is still hope for another last minute reprieve.

"I'm a real faith believer.{}I pray every night we find a way," said Cline.

Jefferson County is giving ClasTran 275 thousand. It's the same amount as last year.

But the deputy county manager says this year, the county entered into a signed contract. It gives the transportation service half the funding now and the other half once Birmingham provides its share.