Citing proposed budget cuts at the state level which would lead to a nearly $400,000 deficit in its operational budget for the coming fiscal year, the Berkshire Regional Transit Authority has announced plans to increase fares and trim service.

Among the possible fixed route service cuts detailed on iberkshires.com were three which would have a direct impact on South Berkshire riders: cutting the Route 21 bus (Pittsfield To Great Barrington) to one bus on weekdays; eliminating the 4:30 P.M. Route 21 Express run; and cutting down to one bus for both Routes 1 & 2 for Saturdays. (The "2" runs from Pittsfield to the Lee Outlets.)

Paratransit service could also see a reduction.  And while fixed-route cash fares would stay the same, the B's "Charlie Card" fares would rise.

Public hearings on these proposed changes have been scheduled at the Great Barrington Fire Station, 27 State Road, on Thursday April 12 from 11 A.M. to 1 P.M. and Tuesday April 24 from 3 to 5 P.M.  Others will be held this month in Pittsfield and North Adams, with a final decision expected in May. Written public comments may also be sent to BRTA, 1 Columbus Ave., Suite 201, Pittsfield, Mass 01201 or emailed to info@berkshirerta.com by April 30.