All News & Blogs
Attitudes of FRED riders in King George range from those who understand why the county is ending the service, to those who can't believe it's being taken away
Trips to and from King George on a Fredericksburg Regional Transit bus will no longer be an option beginning June 29. 06-20-2012 (Peter Cihelka/The Free Lance-Star) ------ 3 cols color
View More Images from this story
Visit the Photo Place
By CATHY DYSON
Few people who ride the FRED bus in King George County are as understanding about the impending end of service as Carolyn Dudley.
She's 63, has two part-time jobs, but doesn't have a car and never had a driver's license. (An instructor once told her some people weren't meant to drive--and she was one of them.)
She lives in Dahlgren and takes the FREDericksburg Regional Transit's K1 bus throughout the county, as well as around Fredericksburg, where she shops thrift stores for bargains.
She's ridden the bus since it started its King George route in April 2005 and will thoroughly miss the service when it ends Friday.
"I do understand the county is forking up a lot of money for not many people riding it," Dudley said. "It'll be a loss, but when you count the people it really affects, it's not that many."
Other riders who spoke with The Free Lance-Star this week weren't nearly as charitable. They said the King George Board of Supervisors' decision to end the service in the rural county will impact seniors going to doctors' appointments and younger people with jobs.
"This is our only transportation to work, to grocery stores," said Annette Foster, a 39-year-old mother. "A lot of people are going to lose their jobs. I could see if there wasn't a lot of people on the bus, but there are. That's why I don't understand why they're taking it away from King George."
As is often the case in this recessed economy, it's all about the money.
King George supervisors started talking about the cost, compared to the number of riders, three years ago. Supervisor Dale Sisson Jr. wondered if an urban transit system was financially feasible in a rural setting.
Fellow Supervisor Joe Grzeika said he seldom saw many passengers on the bus. He said he also never got a clear picture about usage because FRED counts the number of trips taken, not individual riders.
For example, a rider going to the grocery store and back would be counted as two trips.
Using its formula, FRED reported that King George County had 1,479 trips in February 2012, a 5.4 percent increase from February 2011.