A dispute has arisen between the Village of Sturtevant and Ryde, formerly the Belle Urban System, regarding bus service between the City of Racine and the village. That dispute has us concerned about unintended consequences.
Sturtevant Village President Jayme Hoffman said pulling funding from the bus system is something the village has been considering for some time.
Hoffman, who served on the board for five years before being elected village president in April, said trustees have long grappled with concerns that the bus service to and within Sturtevant doesn’t really serve its 7,000 residents.
Hoffman said the village only funded bus service last year because it had an agreement that Route 27 would be rerouted so its return trip used Highway 11, where the majority of the village’s homes are. That never happened.
After that, trustees and staff reached out to the bus system to express their frustration but got no response, Hoffman said. At this point, Hoffman said the board is feeling pretty resolute in its position to cut bus funding.
While it may be true that few Sturtevant residents are making use of Ryde bus lines, that doesn’t mean no one is getting off the bus in Sturtevant. The village is home to Gateway Technical College’s SC Johnson iMET Center, which “hosts the region’s first flexible manufacturing lab dedicated to training the manufacturing workforce,” according to the school’s website.
That description can, in a sense, be reduced to one word for this community: Foxconn. As the arrival of the Taiwanese manufacturing giant transforms Racine County, local young people looking to get a job at Foxconn will be pursuing associates degrees at Gateway. That means they will be taking classes at the iMET Center.
City of Racine residents who are employed at, or are looking to be employed at, Andis Co. and InSinkErator, are also current or prospective Ryde bus users looking to get to Sturtevant.
We want the Gateway students who need a Ryde bus to get from Racine to the iMET Center and back to be able to do so. Those are the young men and women striving to make something of themselves; it’s in the interests of the whole community that they not be impeded by transportation issues.
It’s incumbent upon Ryde, the City of Racine and other surrounding communities to ensure that even if Sturtevant holds to its decision to eliminate its contribution to Ryde funding, people needing a way to get to school or work in Sturtevant can continue to do so.