Council votes to end bus services in Frostproof

If you want to go someplace in Frostproof, you better have your own wheels. There is no more bus service.

The council just voted 3 to 2 to eliminate it.

“There were nine runs of the bus during weekdays and five runs during the weekend,” said Tom Phillips, CEO of Citrus Connection, the bus service. “They are going from a robust transit service to unfortunately nothing.”

Phillips estimates that most days more than 100 rode the bus including commuters, students, the elderly, and people with medical problems.

One of the most vocal opponents of keeping the service on the council, Austin Gravely says he rarely saw anyone on it.

“I can’t speak for any other council members. I have had zero public phone calls. I have had zero e-mails, zero public outcry,” Gravely commented.

The issue to cut the service comes down to money. For the last 10 years, eight of 10 cities in Polk County have paid something towards the cost of operation. Recently, the Citrus Connection decided to ask all the cities to pay what it considers their fair share.

Frostproof has not paid anything.

The annual cost of running the service in Frostproof is about $160,000. The Citrus Connection wanted the city to pay $10,000 the first year, $20,000 the second, and $30,000 the year after, which would be about 20 percent.

Eagle Lake is faced with a similar situation. It has been getting free service as well. Next month, Eagle Lake is expected to decide if it wants to continue the service and pay a fee.