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Vinton proposing removal of eight bus stops along Washington Ave.

It would save thousands, but would take away the only transportation for some

VINTON, Va. – The town of Vinton is proposing to eliminate eight bus stops along Washington Avenue.

The town says, with declining ridership on the Valley Metro, public transportation is becoming too expensive, but those who depend on the service say they have no other option.

WSLS spoke to a man who gets on and off the bus at a stop on Washington Avenue every day to go to work. Due to an injury, he can't drive or walk long distances. So the prospect of losing not only his stop, but every other one along the street has him worried.

"I don't know what I would do if I didn't have the bus," Valley Metro rider Edward Wooldridge said. "I ride the bus twice a day every day, and sometimes more than that."

He said that's been his schedule ever since his injury in a car accident two years ago.

"I've got a prosthetic on my leg and I don't know what I'd do if I had to think I'd have to walk that far now," Wooldridge said.

Wooldridge says he's not the only one who depends on the service.

"There's a lady that works at Hardees who catches it every day. There's a fellow that works at Advance Auto Parts, he catches it with me every morning," Wooldridge said.

At a town meeting Tuesday night, council members discussed doing away with eight different stops on Wooldridge's route.

"The options we're looking at would save somewhere between $15 and $20,000 dollars," councilwoman Janet Scheid said.

Scheid said Valley Metro did a ridership study and determined that those stops were the least used.

"If you've got to cut, you want to cut where it's going to have the least impact to people, and these stops on Washington Avenue are some of those stops that have the lowest ridership in town," Scheid said.

But Wooldridge argues new development might change those numbers.

"You're going to have a new restaurant opening up here, that's Macados, and think about the people that may be too impaired to drive that could take that bus," Wooldridge said.

Council wants to make the decision before the end of the year. Wooldridge hopes they'll think twice before driving his bus out of Vinton altogether.

"I think people ought to reconsider what they [do] because it's going to hurt a lot of people, a lot of people," Wooldridge said.

Town Council is also hosting a public hearing on the issue next Tuesday at seven p.m. in Town Hall.