Bus fare increase of 25 cents approved

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Despite little public support and opposition from the Madison Peak Oil Group, bus fares well rise, as reported by Kristin Czubkowski in The Capital Times:

The Madison Transit and Parking Commission for the second time voted down a proposal to increase Metro Transit bus cash fares by 50 cents Tuesday but tried to compromise with the mayor by approving a 25 cent increase.

TPC Chairman Carl Durocher made the point that Mayor Dave Cieslewicz said he would appeal the rejection of the 50 cent fare increase to the full City Council, and that a 25 cent increase, to $1.75, might prevent that.

"It could be a bridge to get us to a different economic climate locally, congressionally and nationally, and I don't think it will be the bridge to nowhere," Durocher said.

Despite the addition of a low-income fare option at the suggestion of Cieslewicz, members of the commission, who voted 5-4 against the 50 cent increase, repeated concerns about what a higher fare would do to the health of Metro Transit, particularly in a bad economy.

"Gas prices are very low right now and we're going to make it hard for Metro to compete with that," commission member Amanda White said.

White argued that after a record 6 percent increase in ridership in 2008, a fare increase would cause ridership to stagnate.

Metro Transit staff predicted a 1 percent increase in ridership in 2009, but other models presented by commission members suggested ridership could drop.