AC Transit Board Votes to Raise Fares

For the first time in four years, the AC Transit Board of Directors has voted to raise cash fares, beginning July 1st, to help offset a staggering $57 million deficit. It means the cost of adult bus fares will go up from $1.75 to $2.00. From the press release:
In addition, the cost of adult 10-Ride tickets will rise from $17.50 to $20; the $70 adult 31-Day pass will increase to $80 each; transbay cash fares from $3.50 to $4; and the transbay 31-Day pass goes from $116 to $132.50. For youths, seniors and the disabled, the basic cash fare will increase by 15 cents—from 85 cents to $1; and likewise their 10-Ride tickets will increase from $8.50 to $10. Also their transbay fares will increase from $1.70 to $2. But there is no change in the cost of the 31-Day passes for youth, seniors and the disabled. Those passes remain at their current price of $15 for youths and $20 for seniors and the disabled.

The only dissenting vote on the fare increase came from Board member Greg Harper.

"It's so modest, it doesn't address our big problem," Harper was quoted as saying in the Contra Costa Times.

Some advocates agreed, but acknowledge the ongoing financial crises facing transit agencies makes it difficult. 

"It's a disgrace that a transit agency serving predominantly low-income and working class people has to raise fares in the middle of an economic crisis. But, the state's repeated raid of dedicated transit funds have made fare hikes an inevitability for AC Transit and for public transportation agencies across California," said Carli Paine, the transportation program director at Transform.

Also on July 1st, the cost of Muni's monthly fast pass will increase from $45 to $55, and other Bay Area transit agencies are facing similar scenarios. Santa Rosa City Bus blog has a very readable agency-by-agency breakdown today.

Flickr photo: Susan Decker