HUNTLEY – A proposal that would extend on-call bus service to all Huntley residents received cautious support from the majority of village trustees, who also have concerns about the $48,500 annual cost to run it.
Trustees will dissect their concerns Thursday night, when they meet with McHenry County transportation officials about possibly extending the MCRide dial-a-ride bus service for the first time to Huntley.
At least four trustees told the Northwest Herald they favor the bus service that would help all residents commute within Huntley and around the county, but some also want to see neighboring groups like Grafton and Rutland townships and the Sun City Huntley Community Association help financially.
"It's a wonderful program but just a little pricey," said trustee JR Westberg. "I think we can work it out."
Huntley officials have wrestled with the idea of a permanent bus service for all residents since cobbling 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.
If Huntley trustees favor the MCRide option, they would formally vote later this year to establish the service. The extra time would allow village administrators to explore various funding avenues before the buses start traveling to Huntley in spring 2015.
The village estimated its financial portion at $48,582 for 2015, but officials are working to secure federal grants that would shave about $10,000 off that price tag.
Aside from grants, trustee Nick Hanson would like to see other neighboring taxing bodies contribute to the service since it would help all residents.
"MCRide seems to be the best option for the community as a whole," Hanson said. "It won't be just for senior transportation but transportation for all the residents in the village."
If eventually approved, the MCRide service would run Monday through Saturday during morning and daytime hours. Buses would run all over Huntley, including areas in Kane County.
Bus 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.
MCRide already operates in Woodstock, McHenry, Crystal Lake and surrounding townships. If extended to Huntley, riders could also travel to locations that use MCRide.