Economy

On Black Friday, Anchorage's city buses stay parked

Due to city budget cuts, the thousands of people who routinely ride the Anchorage bus system on Black Friday will need another way to get to their destination.

For the first time in its 35-year history, People Mover will not run buses on Friday, the day after Thanksgiving, and city officials say it might not next year either. Typically, the buses collect about 10,000 fares on this date, compared to 14,000 on an average weekday.

The bus riders who will probably be inconvenienced the most are employees at stores, hospitals and hotels. They typically work on Black Friday, which marks the beginning of the busy Christmas shopping season.

"I guess I'll be cabbing it. I know, it's expensive," said Ladedra Henley, who rides the bus daily to her job at Alaska Regional Hospital. At the downtown bus terminal Wednesday, she said she was worried she might be one of thousands struggling to get a cab on Friday.

Vanessa Ward is also trying to figure out how to get to work on Friday afternoon. A cashier at Carrs' grocery store on Gambell Street, Ward rides the bus every day she works. She's hoping that her brother-in-law will drive her to the grocery store Friday. She didn't know yet how she'd get home to Mountain View.

The city's AnchorRIDES bus service, offered to qualified seniors and disabled people, will be on a limited schedule on Friday. It will only take its clients on "essential trips" for medical care and doctor's appointments, city officials said.

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