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UPDATE: Bus Fare Increase

UPDATED Wednesday, March 4, 2009 --- 1:10 p.m.

From the City of Madison:

Many Metro fares will increase starting Sunday, April 5. An updated price list is below.

Fares not listed will not change in price.

Cash Fare
Adult Cash: $2.00
Senior Cash: $1.00
Youth Cash: $1.25

10 Ride-Cards

Adult 10-Ride: $15.00
Senior /Disabled 10-Ride: $10.00
Youth 10-Ride: $10.00

Passes

31-Day Pass: $55.00
Senior/Dis. 31-Day Pass: $27.50
* Low Income 31-Day Pass: $27.50

* Quest Card required for purchase. More information available soon.

One-Day Pass: $4.50
EZ Rider Pass Semester Youth: $150.00

Paratransit

Paratransit-Off Peak: $3.00
Paratransit-Peak: $4.00

A copy of this price list is available at this link:
http://www.cityofmadison.com/metro/Fares/Fareincrease09.pdf

To receive a cell phone text message or e-mail reminder closer to the fare implementation date, sign up at:
https://my.cityofmadison.com/

For more information on updated fares or the new Low-Income 31-Day Pass program, contact Metro's customer service center at (608) 266-4466 or mymetrobus@cityofmadison.com.

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UPDATED Wednesday, February 25, 2009 --- 7:40 a.m.

It's official. Metro Bus fares will soon increase to $2.

Late Tuesday night, the Madison City Council voted 11 to 8 to increase the fare by 50-cents.

That overrides the Transit and Parking Commission recommendation of a 25-cent increase.

Prices will go up in April. People who receive food stamps will be eligible for a low income option.

The mayor's office says that without the increase, Metro would have faced a $210,000 shortfall.

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UPDATED Tuesday, February 24, 2009 --- 7:45 a.m.

Opponents of boosting Madison Metro Bus fares to $2 aren't waiting quietly on the sidelines. They'll rally before tonight's city council meeting.

The Transit and Parking Commission supports a fare of a $1.75 (a 25-cent increase), which the mayor rejects (he wants a 50-cent increase) and is being appealed at tonight's council meeting.

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UPDATED Wednesday, January 14, 2009 --- 8:40 a.m.

It will soon cost you more to take the bus in Madison.

Last night, the Transit and Parking Commission approved a 25-cent increase to the Metro Bus Fare.

The fare increase passed by a five to four vote.

If there are no appeals, the increase goes into effect the first weekend in April.

It is still less than the 50-cent increase Metro and Mayor Dave Cieslewicz wanted. So now, Metro has to figure out how to fill a projected budget gap.

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UPDATED Friday, January 9, 2009 --- 4:20 p.m.

MADISON, Wis. (AP) — Low-income people could buy Madison bus passes at half price, effective when a fare increase is expected to take effect this spring, under a plan unveiled by the mayor and community advocates Friday.

The proposal would take $100,000 from the Madison Metro contingency fund to provide 3,600 of the cut-rate passes that would be available for individuals who are receiving food stamps.

The monthly pass would cost them $27.50 instead of the proposed full price of $55 a month.

Mayor Dave Cieslewicz says implementing both the fare increase and the low-income proposal would allow improvements in service while making sure it's accessible to those who rely on it most.

The mayor would also create a study committee to come up with a sustainable program for consideration in the 2010 budget.

Copyright 2009 The Associated Press.

* * * * *

From the Mayor's Office:

Mayor Dave Cieslewicz today joined community advocates in presenting a two-part plan to improve access to Madison Metro for low-income riders. Their proposal would make low income passes available as soon as the fare increase goes into effect in 2009, as well as continue work on a long-term program for consideration in 2010.

“For many people in Madison, Metro is vital,” Cieslewicz said. “By implementing both the fare increase and a low income rider proposal, we can improve the Metro system and the service it provides, while working to make sure those who need it most have access to it.”

In 2009, the mayor’s proposal would take $100,000 from Metro’s contingency fund to provide 3600 low-income passes, assuming a fare increase goes into effect April 1. Individuals who are receiving food stamps will qualify for the low-income pass and will be able to purchase the monthly pass by presenting their Quest card at one of three locations – Metro Transit, City Hall, and the Dane County Job Center. The low-income pass will cost $27.50 instead of the proposed $55 monthly fare and will be available at the start of each month.

“This program will be able to serve the working poor now, while we continue to make progress on a long-term, sustainable program,” Cieslewicz said. “This effort is an important partnership between Metro and community advocacy groups, and I applaud their continuing hard work.”

Assuming a fare increase goes into effect April 1, the mayor will also create an ad hoc committee charged with developing a sustainable program by August 1 for consideration in the 2010 budget. The committee will bring together Metro, Dane County Human Services, advocacy groups, Transit and Parking Commission members and alders.

“I applaud the mayor’s commitment and the hard work of Metro staff and advocates,” Lisa Subeck, Program Coordinator for the YWCA said. “Not only do we have a proposal to give low income riders access to Metro now, but we also have a commitment to continue working and develop a truly sustainable program.”

“This is one of the most exciting efforts Metro has been a part of in the recent past,” Metro Transit General Manager Chuck Kamp said. “I’m very pleased to have a program to put in place in 2009 and eager to work on developing a long term, sustainable program.”

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UPDATED Wednesday, January 7, 2009 --- 3:20 p.m.

The Transit and Parking Commission meetings on January 13th. On the agenda: the commissioners will reconsider their vote on the fare increase.

Here a memo from Chuck Kamp, Transit General Manager to Mayor Cieslewicz, the Madison Transit and Parking Commission, the Madison City Council, and Metro Funding Partners.

Memo:

Over the past month, Metro staff has worked on responses to several issues raised resulting from the decision made at the December Transit and Parking Commission (TPC) not to approve the proposed fare increase. This memo attempts to address the fact that our 2009 approved budget now carries a $762,000 deficit given the current fare structure.

The City Attorney has provided guidance on this issue in his December memo (attached). The memo carefully reviews the role of the Transit and Parking Commission (TPC) and the Common Council in overseeing Metro Transit’s budget, fares, services and other policies. It is clear from this review of the existing ordinances that the TPC has jurisdiction over setting service and fare levels, and the Common Council has overall budget authority for Metro.

The TPC will be reconsidering the December decision at its January 13th meeting. If the decision is made to approve the proposed fare increase, then Metro’s budget issue is resolved. If the decision is made not to approve the proposed fare increase, Metro would need to make significant service cuts, as listed below, in order to fill the $762,000 budget gap.

Proposed service cuts to help meet budget without fare increase:
• Sunday service cut from 16 to 8 hours per day = $440,000 - Reduction of 10,000 hours of service on 21 routes
• Elimination of 5 drivers
• Eliminate service on all major holidays = $175,000 - Reduction of 2,000 hours of service on 21 routes
• Eliminate new services = $150,000

These service cuts would impact Metro’s ridership and ridership productivity the least compared to other potential service cuts. The service cuts above would impact ridership by approximately 300,000 rides annually. Work trips on Sundays would become difficult with only 8 hours of coverage per day, as it would be more likely that passengers currently using the bus to get to and from work would not be able to with this service cut.

It is my recommendation that the TPC approve the fare increase included in the approved 2009 City budget. The recently approved Metro Ad Hoc Long Range Plan calls for a number of short and long term improvements necessary to strengthen Metro’s role in serving the community. I believe the fare increase would allow Metro to address more of the identified needs for service and system improvements in that approved plan.

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UPDATED: Wednesday, December 10, 2008 --- 6:30 p.m.
REPORTER: Chris Woodard

It will not cost more to ride the bus in Madison because plans to increase fares have been overruled.

But it's leaving a big budget gap that may hurt riders in the end.

There is no shortage of people that depend on Madison buses to get them where they need to go and no shortage of passengers upset about the idea of making it more expensive.

Joseph Lentz says, "Usually they try to charge us what? A dollar fifty. I'm like hold on, I be trying to lie to them like I'm only 16 so I should only pay a dollar but you know it's kind of hard doing that because of all this and what not."

Whatever your method to save cash help is here. A plan to increase fares by 50 cents has been overturned.

Mick Rousch with Madison Metro says, "Yeah we are disappointed because now there are some difficult decisions ahead on where we're going to make up this difference in the budget."

The Transit and Parking Commission's decision will leave Metro with with nearly 700-thousand dollars less than planned. To make ends meet they're considering cutting routes on Sundays and holidays and will probably lose a marketing position.

Rousch says, "It's really tough to reduce service at any time especially with the economy we realize everyone uses metro."

Plans to increase security at transfer points are also in question.

Rider Dawn Gullickson says, "I'm not worried about it. I think there is a need for that and I think they will find a way to fund that."

Right now Metro says the only way may be to cut.

The whole situation has some riders feeling pretty helpless because no matter what the fees they will have to pay them and if the routes are cut, there goes their transportation.

Dawnelle Norwood says, "You have no choice. If you want to get around from point A to B you have no choice."

Lentz says, "Until I get a vehicle, gotta get on the bus."

It's a ride that will be the same price as long as it's still running when you need it.

Rousch says service may not have to be cut if the commission can come up with other ideas.

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UPDATED Tuesday, December 9, 2008 --- 8:30 p.m.

The Wisconsin State Journal reports, the Transportation and Parking Commission rejected a bus fare increase.

Click HERE to read article in Wisconsin State Journal

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Posted Monday, November 24, 2008 --- 10:00 a.m.
REPORTER: Barclay Pollak

Public transportation riders may soon have to cough up more change. That's making many riders speak up.

According to the most recent Madison Metro Riders Report in 2000 21% of the people who use the service make less than $10,000 a year.

Some of those people went before the Transit and Parking Commission to speak out against a rate hike.

For about 20 years Dave Carrig of Madison has relied on Madison Metro to get him where he needs to go.

" I wanted to semi-retire and I was a blue collar guy and keeping up a car was sort of expensive so I just dropped it."

Now Carrig and others are worried they won't be able to afford the bus if a proposed fare increase goes in to affect.

Craig Myrbo says, "Well that increase from $1.50 to $2.00 every ride...I ride five to seven times a week...that's a big chunk."

That's why Carrig, Myrbo and the Madison Area Bus Advocates held a rally at the Monona Terrace before a public hearing on the proposed increase.

They say at the heart of the issue is how the increase would affect those riders that are already hurting financially.

Carrig says, "Some of the present riders probably won't be able to afford it."

Officials working on the matter say they're sympathetic but they believe an increase in fares is the only way to keep people moving.

Chuck Kamp Madison Metro's General Manager says, "It's time to look at a fare increase so that the passenger revenue be at the appropriate share of funding metro's budget."

Officials say the proposed increase is tentatively set to take place in March of 2009.

If that's the case bus fares may not be the only thing taking a hike at that time.

Here's a look at how some of the fares would increase if the proposed rate hike were to happen.

Adults would go from paying $1.50 to $2.00.

Kids rates would go up $.25 from $1.00 to $1.25.

And Seniors would go from paying $.75 to $1.00.

These changes aren't set in stone that's according to Madison Metro's G.M. Chuck Camp.

But, he says the Commission plans to make a decision at their December 9 meeting.


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