Bus service proposes rate increase | SierraSun.com

Bus service proposes rate increase

Ryan Slabaugh
Sierra Sun
Sierra Sun file photoAs proposed, the general public fare would increase from $1.50 to $1.75, and instead of machines printing free transfer tickets, two-way commuters will be sold a daily pass for $3.50 on the first leg of the trip.

PLACER COUNTY ” The regional bus system is proposing a number of rate changes that transit officials say will keep services in tact during the current economic slump.

As proposed, the general public fare would increase from $1.50 to $1.75, and instead of machines printing free transfer tickets, two-way commuters will be sold a daily pass for $3.50 on the first leg of the trip.

“It’s simplifying the transaction and it cuts the amount of paper in half, but probably most importantly, on the return trip, they’ll be no digging cash out of the wallet, no issuing of the transfer from the machine to the person,” said Will Garner with the Tahoe Area Regional Transit (TART). “That’s just another goal we have, to reduce the boarding time, which we think is good for all the passengers.”

Other changes include replacing its 20-ride and 40-ride programs with 14-day passes and 30-day passes.

Garner said they are assuming a 2 percent decrease in ridership ” a total of 8,000 riders ” due to the increased fares. Even with that, he explained, the transportation system, with an annual ridership of 400,000, would see a $53,000 increase in revenue.

“In past years, a rate increase might have helped us add service, but in this case, what it’s going to do is keep us from having to propose service cuts,” Garner said.

The next time you use Google Maps to get directions, take a closer look. In some areas, a new option is appearing ” how to get to your destination by using public transit.

By partnering with local transportation departments, which would upload and maintain schedules and routes, Google is building a tool that counties and towns can use to promote their own transit systems.

At a recent transportation meeting, area transit leaders listened to Aaron Antrim, from Trillium Transit Solutions based in Portland, Ore., who said this is most useful for people like tourists who are not familiar with mass transit. It’s also available in multiple languages and mobile devices.

There is some cost involved, Antrim said, to get the partnership up and running. Transit leaders seemed excited about the idea, and said they would discuss it further at an upcoming meeting.

The Tahoe Area Regional Transit system could benefit from the latest federal stimulus, which included $8 billion for mass transit. Officials said the local agency could receive $250,000 for maintenance of engines and facilities, money that would normally come out of the overall operating budget.

Another $1.9 million could come in to help build the Tahoe City Transit Center, a project county officials said was short on funding. The stimulus money would nearly close the shortfall, Garner said.

Download a PDF detailing all of the proposed change by clicking on the icon on this story.

The Placer County Board of Supervisors will hold a public hearing to consider action to modify the fares charged for Tahoe Area Regional Transit. The hearing will be held at the regularly scheduled Placer County Board of Supervisors meeting on April 21 at 9:30 a.m. at Northstar-at-Tahoe in the Village Board Room, located at 100 Northstar Drive.

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