NRoute expected to finish even or with suprlus

Published 11:30 am Friday, August 29, 2014

NRoute is expected to at least break even to finish the 2014 fiscal year, the president of the transit system’s board announced at its meeting Wednesday. 

After finishing last fiscal year with a $61,155.61 deficit, the city’s bus system used an increased budget allocated by the City of Vicksburg and route cuts to help initiate profit growth.

“We actually cut some routes and some employees were actually laid off. It made us make some hard decisions to make us better,” board president Don Brown said. “It made where the stops, people had to walk a little bit farther to get to their bus stop, but this is just out of necessity.”

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The transit system received a boost from the city in cash and in-kind totaling more than $70,000 to help NRoute avoid a deficit in 2013, and the Board of Mayor and Aldermen also increased the city’s supplement to the organization from $125,000 to $200,000 a year.

Current fare revenue for the 2014 fiscal year is $99,959.86, a $29,840.33 increase compared with the same period in fiscal 2013.

“When you look at community transportation, most systems are losing money. We’re so fortunate that the city mayor and the board of aldermen saw fit to fund us at a decent level this year and we’ve been very prudent with those funds,” Brown said. “The result is that at least we’re breaking even and not many systems can say that.”

In other action, the board approved its budget for fiscal 2014, totaling $938,220. Of that, $478,358 will come from transportation grant funding administered through the Mississippi Department of Transportation. The rest will come from contracts and standard fares, the city’s supplement and a $30,100 supplement from Warren County.

NRoute also discussed plans for rebranding in the coming year, including a logo change, in an attempt to give the organization a more metro type feel.

“Because we’re doing so well, having that rebranding, that’s just going to go right along with this optimism and the positives that’s going on with community transportation,” Brown said. “We want to make sure everybody feels like it’s safe, it’s reliable and that everyone should use it.”