A Look Under the Hood at GLTC

Reporter: Mark Kelly l Videographer: Parker Slaybaugh

Lynchburg, VA - GLTC asked council for $100,000 to prevent cutting bus routes Tuesday. Council members told the company to go back to the drawing board before asking for a penny more.

But even with the $100,000, the GLTC could run a near million dollar deficit.

GLTC is a complex operation. The city does not own it. It's a private contractor for the city, not a city department. In the 1970s, a private bus company ran the buses in Lynchburg, but in '74, that company went bankrupt.

In the 1970s, the private sector couldn't afford to run buses, and Lynchburg didn't want to run buses.

"Me and the assistant general manager, we are paid by First Transit," said GLTC Director Michael Carroll.

To make the bus system even more confusing, other GLTC employees, drivers included, are paid by a sub-corporation called Central Virginia Transit Management Company.

The private contracting and sub-corporations exist because if city government owned the buses, the workers couldn't collective bargain and that would mean no federal money to keep the buses on the streets.

"We need to look at a different way to manage GLTC," said Christian DePaul, GLTC board member.

DePaul is a GLTC board member frustrated with the company's deficit and embarrassed GLTC asked city council for more money.

"We provided a directive to Mike Carroll that he needed to actually make these cuts before he went back. The fact that these cuts weren't completed, we shouldn't have gone back there. Period," said DePaul.

DePaul says half the board agrees with his idea to cut costs and lower the deficit.

"You can combine the routes. It's so simple, and why they aren't doing it just amazes me," said DePaul.

Carroll disagrees with DePaul. He says combining routes lowers the bus riding experience and makes it longer.

"Here's the problem. It's what I would call the peanut butter approach to transit," said Carroll.

The fewer the buses, the less smooth the service becomes.

Carroll is not embarrassed GLTC asked council for the $100,000. His take is that they are being proactive tackling this at the beginning of this fiscal year.

But not everyone on Carroll's board agrees with him. We'll have to see in two weeks if council gives GLTC the money.