Fare rise reduces ridership

Monday, August 17, 2009

From an article by Dean Mosiman in the Wisconsin State Journal:

Since a controversial bus fare hike in April, Metro Transit ridership has dipped and revenue is below projections.

Metro, which had a 30-year peak in ridership in 2008, saw monthly ridership increases from January through April over last year.

But since April, when cash fares rose to $2 from $1.50 and the cost of ticket packages and passes also increased, ridership dropped 1.3 percent in May and nearly 1 percent in June.

Metro’s revenue is increasing but is $440,000 behind projections for the first six months of 2009.

Metro general manager Chuck Kamp said he is confident ridership will increase about 1.4 percent to 13.5 million by the end of the year — about what was projected. But that’s far below a 6 percent projected increase if there had been no fare hike.

Meanwhile, revenues are estimated to be about $400,000 short of projections by the end of the year, Kamp said.

But Metro expects to get savings through fuel prices, wages and other means and will balance its budget, he said.

"We’ll get back on track," he said. "It might take a little bit longer than we thought."

But Metro’s ridership and revenue report for the first six-months of 2008 is causing concern.