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As decided during the 2010 budget process, rides on the Town’s bus service no longer will be free beginning March 1.
Town Council is set to decide exactly what the fare for a ride will be at its Jan. 26 meeting.
Town staff is suggesting an across-the-board fare of $1 per ride. Multiride passes would be available under the plan – 11-ride passes would be sold for $10, and 23-ride passes for $20.
The economic downturn has necessitated fares for the service, which has been free since its 1994 inception.
In suggesting the fare, staff collected data from similar transit agencies. Also cited was a 2007 survey in which half of the Town bus service’s riders said $1 would be the maximum fare they’d be willing to pay.
Staff’s proposal calls for drivers to accept only exact change, passes or transfers – which must be used on the date of issue and only to continue a ride, not for return trips. No discounts would be given based on age or disability, because that would require a higher base fare. The only exception would be children under 2 who would sit in an adult’s lap; they would ride free.
Even with the fare, public revenues still will be needed to supplement the service – as is always the case with public transit services. The Town has budgeted just over $450,000 to run the service this year. It expects to collect just under $40,000 in fares.
The revenue estimate is based on the assumption that the service will provide only half the number of rides in 2010 as it did in 2009 due to the implementation of the fare; the elimination of Saturday and holiday service; the reduction in daily service hours; and the reduction in service to Founders Village and The Meadows, which all were part of the 2010 budget.
A monthly pass also was considered, but staff opted for the multiride passes due to the flexibility they offer – including the ability for multiple family members to use the same pass. Staff plans for the punch cards to be sold at the Recreation Center, Town Hall and Town Service Center.
Public feedback is welcome on the plan. The Jan. 26 Council meeting begins at 6 p.m. in Council Chambers at Town Hall, 100 N. Wilcox St.