Placer supervisors approve hike in bus fees | SierraSun.com

Placer supervisors approve hike in bus fees

Kyle Magin
Sierra Sun

NORTHSTAR-AT-TAHOE ” The Placer County Board of Supervisors approved an increase in Tahoe Area Regional Transit fees Tuesday at its first meeting of the year on the eastern side of the county.

Starting June 1, one-way rides will be $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.

Transportation officials said these moves will streamline operations and provide revenue to keep existing services in tact.

“We had two options in front of us: We could have cut frequency and cut things like routes, or we could have raised the price. To me this is better than reducing services,” said Jennifer Montgomery, the Tahoe region’s representative to the board.

Despite the reasons, riders aren’t all pleased.

Tahoe Vista resident Jennifer John, who said she rides TART about five times each week, is frustrated about the elimination of the free transfer tickets.

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“It’s not the fare hike so much that bothers me,” John said. “The problem is that along with that hike, they are going to eliminate free transfer, which means that someone like me, who has to travel a long way, is going to have to pay more each time I ride.”

TART argues that the elimination of the transfer ticket will help streamline their operation, since it will no longer use machines to print tickets as riders exit; instead, with the purchase of the day pass, only one transaction will be necessary.

Incline Village resident David Lochman, who rides the bus to Tahoe City three to four times per week for work and pays for the single ride fare, said the $.25 increase won’t affect him.

“I think the prices are pretty fair,” Lochman said. “The increase won’t keep me from riding.”

Lochman, interviewed while waiting for the bus to arrive Tuesday morning, said TART is a reliable mode of transportation. He generally waits no more than 15 minutes at a time, and said it takes him about 40 minutes to make the 15-mile trip from Incline to Tahoe City.

John, who hitchhikes in addition to riding the bus, also said that TART services are fine but that the rate hike may keep her from riding as often.

“This is a time when everyone is struggling so much,” John said. “People just don’t have any money, and people who use TART are not generally well off, so to put this extra load on them seems incredibly unfair.”