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Local News

Huntley commits to MCRide, offers bus service to all residents

HUNTLEY – Village trustees Thursday committed Huntley to a permanent bus service for all residents at a lower cost than previously estimated, but it couldn’t secure all the financial help they wanted.

Trustees last month wanted contributions from the Sun City Huntley Community Association, and Grafton and Rutland townships to help offset the village’s $48,582 annual cost to run MCRide Dial-a-Ride Service in the Huntley area.

But village staff could only secure a $10,000 commitment from Grafton Township officials after meeting with all three groups. The village’s portion for the on-call bus service now stands at $38,582, once buses start running early next year.

A few trustees Thursday said they were disappointed at the lack of assistance shortly before voicing their intent to join MCRide, which allows any resident to ride buses within Huntley and to places like Crystal Lake and Woodstock already enrolled in the transportation program.

“Will there be any potential passengers prohibited from riding? ... A name list or anything?” Trustee Harry Leopold asked staff. “Because if there was going to be a name list, I was going to put the Rutland Township Board of Trustees on there.”

Leopold’s comment drew a laugh from the small crowd in attendance at the meeting, but he later said he isn’t seriously considering a no-ride list.

The dig at Rutland came before trustee Ronda Goldman said she was “disappointed” in Rutland and the Sun City association for not contributing to a service their residents will use.

In a letter last week to village officials, Lauren Lee, the executive director of the Sun City association, said the group thought MCRide “would not be beneficial” because the places residents visit are not included in the bus proposal. Lee didn’t elaborate on the places excluded from the plan.

The Rutland board was supposed to discuss a contribution to MCRide during a meeting last week, but Huntley officials never received an explanation on why the issue didn’t see a vote.

The financial commitment from Grafton now means both the village and township have to approve a funding agreement later this year before MCRide can begin in 2015.

Trustees’ move to create a permanent bus service for all residents started after they scrambled to put together a temporary taxi service last winter for senior citizens in Sun City.

The elderly residents within Rutland’s territory nearly lost public transportation after Grafton cut off its bus service to them following a failed effort to convince Rutland officials to contribute money.

Beginning early next year, the on-call buses will run Mondays through Saturdays during morning and daytime hours.

Fares vary from $2 for the general public to $1 for seniors and people with disabilities. Riders would be charged 25 cents for each additional mile traveled after the first five miles.

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