A coalition of alternative transit and social justice organizations have already begun lobbying the Metropolitan Transit District to spare riders buying bus passes from the looming fare increase designed to plug the bus company’s million dollar budget deficit caused by rising fuel prices.
Groups like COAST and PUEBLO are asking that the fare increases be restricted to people buying their bus fares one at a time, which now go for $1.25 a ride. That way, they argue, people of limited means who depend on the buses for transportation will not be unduly burdened. Although all the numbers have yet to be crunched, MTD board member Dave Davis said that’s not likely. If regular fares went up and passes remained the same, he predicted that many more riders would shift to passes and MTD wouldn’t raise the revenues it needs. Currently, MTD offers 10 rides for $10 or an unlimited monthly pass for $41. Davis said the transit district said the fare hike is necessary to deal with the escalating deficits the transit district is projecting for the next three years. Public hearings on the fare increases begin later this week.