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Transit fare hike proposed for metro Phoenix

 

Transit fare hike proposed for metro Phoenix

Photo: Valley Metro

Public transit officials in metro Phoenix are considering raising the costs of fares on buses, light-rail trains and on-call vans.

The Arizona Republic reports  that the fare hike proposed by the Regional Public Transportation Authority would increase the cost of a single ride from $1.75 to $2.

Most other fares would rise proportionally.

The new fares would take effect March 1 if the proposal is approved.

It would be the first fare hike since 2009.

The proposal would generate $6.5 million in revenue a year. By state law, metro Phoenix’s public-transit system must take in enough fares to cover a quarter of its operating costs. Currently, regional Valley Metro transit system recovers 23 percent. The rest is paid for with a combination of regional sales tax and local subsidies.

Talk of higher fares comes after four years of service cuts, in which dozens of bus lines were axed, rerouted or truncated and wait times lengthened. The cuts were enacted after sales-tax revenue and city subsidies plunged during the economic downturn. There is no discussion about restoring lost service with the fare increase.

Almost every rider would have to pay more, typically 14 percent more. The steepest increase is 23 percent for rural bus passengers. The resulting base fare would still be cheaper than what passengers pay in peer western cities.

Fares would not change for Dial-a-Ride customers in Sun City, Surprise or unincorporated parts of the county. Most patrons of the on-call van service would pay $4, rather than $3.50 a ride.

Seniors, youths and disabled riders would continue to pay half-fare on local service, or $1 for a single ride and up to $32 for a monthly pass.

Monthly transit passes for general riders would cost $64, up from $55 for local service. Many riders who get passes through employers or education institutions would pay less, depending on the size of the subsidies they’re offered.

Valley Metro plans to eliminate the three-day pass and establish a new 15-day pass, costing $33.

Fares for Rapid and Express service would climb higher than for local service. The price of a single ride would climb from $2.75 to $3.25, an 18 percent increase, while a monthly pass would rise from $85 to $104, or 22 percent.

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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