CHICAGO (CBS)– McHenry Township seniors love to play Bingo, but soon the transportation to their beloved game will end.
CBS 2 Morning Insider Vince Gerasole found out they aren’t giving up without a fight.
McHenry Township has voted to discontinue a bus service for seniors and people with disabilities that many say is vital.
Lynne Sweig makes her way around town on door-to-door bus service provided for seniors and those with disabilities in McHenry Township.
“I don’t drive anymore, and I don’t walk anymore, so the bus is imperative for me to go anywhere,” Sweig said.
Riders pay just $2 a trip.
Because it serves about 200 people in a smaller area, the service is extremely reliable and on time. But come November, in what’s called a “cost-cutting move,” it’s going away.
Sweig said this is frustrating, because the bus allows her to be an independent person, even though she can’t walk.
“I am really not happy about it,” bus rider Dennis Petrie said. “It’s very detrimental to a lot of the seniors.”
Many people at the McHenry Township Senior Center use the bus three to four times a week; to get to doctors appointments, or shop, or make it to a place where they can socialize and feel independent.
“This is the only transportation we have to get around,” community member Barbara said. “If you’re in the house constantly, you’re going to end up dying.”
“We don’t ask for much. We just ask to leave our services alone,” Petrie said.
It’s estimated the service could be saved by maintaining the nearly $8-per-year fee attached to property tax bills for the township’s homeowners, another reason the cut for many doesn’t add up.
“Even the seniors would even give that up. We’d take a fund to fund it ourselves,” Petrie said.
A vote earlier this month to reconsider the cut failed, but supporters did succeed in getting a referendum to restore the service on next year’s primary ballot– a move that can’t put the brakes on its November termination.
“I am hoping that we can cut out this nonsense and bring back this bus,” Sweig said. “Got to fight to get it back.”
In spite of vouchers and grants, the McHenry Township Senior Bus Service still cost taxpayers about $192,000 dollars a year.