Bus fare hike proves successful

Tuesday, March 09, 2010

From an editorial in the Wisconsin State Journal:

Metro Transit posted its highest ridership numbers in three decades last year -- despite a fare hike.

It's vindication for the mayor and bus system officials who took plenty of grief from critics predicting doom and gloom if the cost of a bus pass increased.

Metro Transit raised its cash fare 50 cents to $2 per ride last April. Other fares, such as monthly passes, increased proportionally.

Madison Mayor Dave Cieslewicz and a thin majority of the City Council had to overrule a stubborn transit commission to adopt the needed hike.

The higher fare has so far done just what it was supposed to do.

It has given the city more revenue from riders to help cover soaring costs that were unduly burdening city property taxpayers. The bus fare increase also has helped Metro Transit give riders more of what they wanted: better service and more routes.

Metro Transit had predicted bus ridership for 2009 would increase about 1.4 percent, and that's just what happened. In fact, bus rides last year totaled 13,588,426, slightly higher than Metro Transit's target.