Fare increase for CDTA down the road?

cdta_bus_at_armory.jpg

Unofficial AOA transit correspondent, and official transit-riding superhero, This Quality Life sent along a report on today's CDTA board meeting. The short story: it really does look like fares will be going up 50 cents per ride next spring.

The slightly longer story from TQL:

Just watched today's CDTA board meeting -- the board acted to endorse the deficit reduction plan, they didn't officially vote on the budget (don't have to do that until December, I think) but this way they can move forward with informing the public about the plan to increase fares to $1.50/ ride effective 4/1/09, and again to $2/ ride in 2010, if the financial picture deems it necessary. They do not want to have to increase fares to $2/ ride in 2010, but want to leave the option open.

Apparently, 62% of transit organizations are looking at raising fares, but I wonder how many are raising them 50%??

I think such a steep increase is going to be a real hardship for most of the current bus riders, and I hope there will be plans to offset costs for those whose only reliable form of transportation is CDTA.

Update: Thursday's TU story has a few more details.

(Thanks, TQL!)

Comments

Although it would be a huge burden on the riders to increase the fares, Albany does currently have the cheapest bus fares in the State.

That's ok. What's an extra 50 cents? The economy is in great shape and we're experiencing an abundance of economic growth and prosperity! Wait, this is 1997, right? I can never remember what year I set my flying Delorean to.

Huzzah! I can't WAIT to pay an extra 50 cents for leaky, crowded buses!! I am quivering with excitement.

They better accompany this fare hike with increased service and cleaner (and weather tight) buses, or I might have to throw myself to the ground and throw the mother of all hissy fits. You've been warned.

@AOA - thanks for this morning's update. So, it doesn't look like Ellen's wish for increased service will come true -- in fact, the deficit reduction plan includes service cuts, the specifics of which I assume will be disclosed during the public hearing process - and hopefully will also be outlined on CDTA's website so that even those who cannot attend public hearings will be able to take part in the process. As for the leaky buses, my superhero recommendation is to throw a rain bonnet in your pocket to wear on the bus -- oh, and a towel to wipe off the sopping wet seat!

This is what happens when the state budget needs to be cut, and the two biggest, most wasteful spending categories (education & healthcare) are held sacrosanct.

TQL - I would have thanked you yesterday for the update but I was too busy gnashing my teeth, stomping and throwing myself on the floor and moaning. /Hissy fit.

@ Brian - thanks for giving me a chuckle. I find it amusingly ironic that a person, who thinks that education spending is wasteful, actually spelled "sacrosanct" correctly.

Brian, if any two categories should be sacrosanct, it's education & health care. That is, if I am understanding what you mean by the word "sacrosanct". I had to sound it out like 3 times. But that's because I can barely read.

Brian makes an excellent point. We need to dump the highest state salary into SUNY's nanotech division to attract the best and brightest minds. But the best and brightest minds in education and healthcare aren't really important so we should totally underfund them. I say we cut teacher pay, that'll free up plenty of cash and we don't really need smart people teaching our children anyway.

fyi--Rochester, NY, just LOWERED its city bus fares. Their program is called "Bus for a Buck." Here is the first line from the Sept. 15, 2008 NYTimes article about this--
"At a time when public transportation systems around the country are struggling with soaring fuel costs and pinched budgets, the bus system in Rochester has done something that few others would contemplate: This month, it lowered its single-ride fare."
[http://www.nytimes.com/2008/09/15/nyregion/15rochester.html?_r=2&scp=1&sq=aesch&st=cse&oref=slogin&oref=slogin]

@chrisck wow, what an article. Thank you. It seems like Rochester's transit minds have some great ideas to get riders on board their buses.

This is an honest question- does the bus money machine make change? Quarters are like diamonds to me since I have to do laundry at a laundromat. So could I put in two dollar bills and get $.50 back?

My next question is does this mean that they will be cutting the underused lines? My main line is lightly travelled...

Where's the bailout for CDTA ?

@ Katherine -
re: Quarters. The fare boxes do not currently give change, I bet they could be programmed to, but actually I have no clue. Currently, when you overpay the fare, the machine produces a "change card" which carries your balance until you use it up. It looks like one of those $3 day cards, except it's got more bucks on it and doesn't expire at 4 a.m. the following day.
re: Cuts to service: We can bet on CDTA planning to cut service back on certain lines, whether they will completely cut out existing lines has not been mentioned. They did say they would attempt to consolidate lines whenever possible. I'll certainly be pushing them not to make any cuts, but I don't think they know I exist!
@ chrisck - my thoughts exactly.

I have been an Albany resident for 7 years and used the bus for the first time the other day.

I loved it. I don't care about it's shortcomings, I totally loved it.

The only issue is that I can only seem to get to one section of Albany, and not too late at night. If I had more options I would take the bus all the time - especially to work. Too bad my 12 minute car ride turns into 1.5 hours bus time plus a 1 mile walk.

And reading back what I wrote - I guess I do care about CDTA's shortcomings.

Sigh.

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