BALLWIN, Missouri (CNN) - For Stuart and Dianne Falk, it is a two-bus, 45-minute trip into downtown St. Louis to head to the gym and to volunteer at a theater group.
And it is a lifeline that ends Friday.
"To be saddled, to be imprisoned, that is what it is going to feel like," says Stuart Falk. "It is going to feel like being punished for something we didn't do."
Stuart and Dianne Falk are confined to wheelchairs. And the bus route that takes them downtown, and to one of the few tastes of personal freedom they have, is being eliminated because of a funding crunch.
In all, two dozen bus routes are being eliminated outright effective March 30. Numerous other routes have been shortened or otherwise modified, including less frequent runs. Light rail service schedules also have been scaled back as part of an effort to close a $51 million funding shortfall.