NORWALK, Conn. (CBSNewYork) — Higher fares and cuts in service are set to take place for riders on the Norwalk Transit Bus Service.

Under the proposal, fares for Wheels Bus riders would increase from $1.50 to $1.75, The Hour reported. Certain bus routes and weekend schedules would also be eliminated.

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While public hearings are ongoing, there seems to be no way to avert the hike, set to take place in January 2017, WCBS 880’s Fran Schneidau reported.

State representative Gail LaVielle, who represents the district, says people who depend on these buses simply can’t afford a fare hike. 

“For the buses on Norwalk Transit, we’re actually seeing the fares go up with a decrease in service — and there is just no excuse for that,” Lavielle said.

According to Lavielle, a primary reason for the rate hike is a decrease in state funding.

“The state has told Norwalk Transit that now it’s having to cut its own budget, and therefore Norwalk Transit should be prepared to make cuts,” Lavielle said.

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Lavielle believes the state needs to repeal tax redemptions for some of its arenas in Hartford, including the XL Center, rather than impose higher bus fares on people who have no choice but to take mass transit to work.

Lavielle has previously said implementing a sales tax at the XL Center would generate $3.5 million, which could deter the need to raise fares for transportation services. The arena is home to The University of Connecticut men’s and women’s basketball teams, as well as the Hartford Wolf Pack and several other events.

Lavielle says the rest of the $5.9 million would come from eliminating a tax exemption for a gas company in eastern Connecticut.

Lavielle and more than a dozen of her colleagues recently rode the rails, collecting 1,720 signatures for a petition opposing another proposed fair hike for Metro-North riders.

The transit system is facing a growing operating deficit.

For more information on the proposed changes, click here.

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