Capital Metro is holding another public hearing tonight on a proposal to increase the price of taking public transit. The hikes are intended to help Cap Metro balance its FY 2011 budget. Most of the agency's operating revenue comes from local sales tax. Cap Metro says that's an unreliable source of income because of fluctuations in consumer spending.
KUT's Mose Buchele reports this morning that the most contentious fare hike proposals affect vulnerable members of the rider base.
“Right now seniors and persons with disabilities ride bus and rail services at no costs, we would start charging them a reduced rate at 50 cents per ride or a 31 days pass would cost 15 dollars,” said [Cap Metro spokesperson Misty] Whited.
The fare proposals come in the wake of a "Sunset Review" of Cap Metro earlier this year, in which a state committee criticized the public transit agency for financial mismanagement, among other things.
“As those reforms are implemented, there’s going to be some heartache from time to time, because change is going to be hard,” said State Senator Kirk Watson, who wrote the legislation that started the Cap Metro review process. “But I think those reforms are going to be necessary for Capital Metro to have the kind of credibility that we taxpayers deserve.”