New SSA Office opens without Citilink Bus Service

By Nicole Pence

June 18, 2010 Updated Jul 26, 2007 at 11:13 PM EDT

The new Social Security Administration building opened Monday in Fort Wayne, without being located on a Citilink bus route. Nicole Pence has been following this controversy and has an exclusive story.

After 30-plus years in the old building, this is Northeast Indiana's newest Social Security Administration office.
Bob Walsh/Social Security Administration: "One of the prime benefits we have of being here is just much better security much better service to public we have an increase in interview stations be able to get people in and out much quicker."

We toured the building exclusively Thursday, but some areas were off-limits.
Bob Walsh/Social Security Administration: "Back there is where all the work is done. That's where all the social security numbers are and that's what we have to keep private."

It's the first SSA building in the state to provide barrier walls to separate interview stations. But Citilink officials argue no matter how great the building is, some people won't be able to get there.

Dave Gionet/Citilink: "There is going be a period of time with no service."

Citilink's Board of Directors approved extending a bus route to serve the new location, but only once an hour, and although they'd like to provide more, Gionet says the budget won't allow.
Dave Gionet/Citilink: "It's approximately a 120-thousand net of what we will collect in fairs."

But that route won't be up until SSA puts in a bus-turnaround, something promised to Congressman Mark Souder and Citilink officials.

Bob Walsh/Social Security Administration: (You have no idea when the new turnaround will be built?) I've been told it will be relatively soon but exactly when I don't know. (Does it worry you in the meantime that some people who ride Citilink aren't able to get here?) If some people can't do the bus thing. Can't get here, don't hook up with Citilink access, with is a great service, let us know that. We will probably do it by phone, which we will be able to do. By mail, if not, we will make a home visit."

Dave Gionet/Citilink: "There is a lot of this going on. It's that guy's job or that guy's job."

Indiana's NewsCenter called General Service Administration officials in charge of SSA. They said they aren't sure when the turnaround would be constructed. For now, the dozens of people who may need a ride each day, can call Citilink directly.

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