SCHWEINFURT, Germany (Sept. 30, 2013) -- The installation shuttle that operates on-post here will reduce its hours of operation in October.

A planned reduction in installation shuttle runs next month follows a decreasing population here and a drop in ridership, according to garrison leaders.

The garrison shuttle offers free service to Department of Defense ID cardholders to each of the garrison's four main installations. But with the garrison closure approaching and ridership at an all time low, the shuttle service must reduce its hours of operation in order to remain sustainable, said Tommy Harrison, director of logistics.

"Garrison closure and a shrinking population are forcing us to make tough decisions," said Harrison. "But despite this, we are matching services with community demand."

Currently, the shuttle runs Monday through Friday from 6 a.m. to 9 p.m. On weekends and holidays it runs from 9 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.

Beginning Oct. 1, 2013, the shuttle will run Monday through Friday from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. and from 9 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. on weekends and holidays. The weekend and training holiday schedule will remain unchanged, said Klaus Schaupp, the garrison's transportation manager.

"Since the population has reduced, it was decided it wasn't necessary to have so many empty buses running from Conn Barracks to Ledward. Ridership has dropped, especially from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m." said Schaupp. "We will support the garrison until ridership has completely stopped, but reductions may continue as our population continues to dwindle."

Last year, the Schweinfurt community encompassed nearly 10,000 Soldiers, Family members, employees and retirees. That number has since fallen just below 4,000. Shuttle ridership has seen a proportionate drop.

Over the last five months shuttle service has undergone a 53 percent decrease in ridership Monday through Friday, and a 60 percent plummet on Sundays, according to numbers released by the garrison's transportation office.

"Together, we all confront a dual mission of closing a garrison down while at the same time maintaining exceptional quality of life levels," said Brian Adkins, USAG Schweinfurt Garrison Manager, who is leading the garrison and its closure. "If there is a need, we'll provide the service and still provide sound stewardship of resources."