Public meetings on proposed fare increase begin today

The first of three community open houses regarding Capital Metro’s fare increase proposal begins today in Leander, at Pat Bryson Hall, 201 N. Brushy Street, from 6:30 to 8:00 p.m.

The second meeting is tomorrow, 6 p.m., at ACC South Austin Campus, and the third meeting is June 12, 6 p.m. at City Hall.

A public hearing (with the Capital Metro Board) is scheduled on June 27, 12 Noon, at the main facility of Capital Metro, 2910 E. 5th Street.

Watch KXAN’s news story this morning about the fare increase.

8 thoughts on “Public meetings on proposed fare increase begin today

  1. Anonymous

    The hours of the meeting and locations I could not attend due to my work schedule. Byt he time I got fromwork and take the bus (how funny), I could not attend.

    FARES: DO NOT start charging senior citizens and disable persons. That is a small percentage of revenue.

    Also, when did you see police,fire and any other law enforcement riding the bus on their own initiatives? NEVER. CAP METRO proposed to let them ride FREE.

    If they do, please let the US soldiers – active and, of course, retired – ride free.

    I think it is funny when CAP METRO let current law enforcement ride free but asked veterans of WWII, Korea, Vietnam and IRAQ wars have to pay. How stupid and short-sighted.

  2. Don Dickson

    CapMetro should have stuck to their guns and implemented the original proposal for a fare increase. It’s ridiculous that I can ride around for a month for $10. It’s still ridiculous at $20.

  3. Anonymous

    Increased to a monthly fare for regular fixed routes is okay but DO NOT CHARGE for senior citizens and disabled persons.

    Most citizens on CAP METRO lived on a fixed govt income. Do not think it is impudent to let the seniors have their independent by riding the bus than driving in cars. Safety.

    By the way, Bus Riders Union of Austin http://www.busatx.org is having a rally at the Austin History Center near the Central Public Library from 4 pm to 5:30 on Sarudrday the June 14.

    Just saw note on a CAP METRO schedule tower in downtown Austin.

  4. Steven

    I believe that the fare increase is fair to everyone.

    As a former bus operator, I have seen the widespread abuse from several riding groups.

    For example, if a patron boards and “thinks” that he/she “looks like” a senior citizen, the patron will not show and ID. When the bus operator questions the patron, you hear all the lame excuses (“Don’t I look like a senior?”, or “Other drivers don’t ask me for ID,” and the like.)

    How about UT students? Sorry, guys, but your ID card IS your pass. If you forget the card, you must pay the fare (just like any other patron).

    Medicare cards? Don’t get me started there. There is a lot of abuse there. Are you aware that a bus operator can ask for a photo ID from the person using the Medicare card?

    And the Disabled Fare cards! CMTA policy is that the picture on the front of the card must be displayed to the bus driver before you place the card next to the bulls-eye on the fare box. How many patrons leave their card in a closed wallet and place the wallet to the fare box? About 80%. And the grief the bus operator get when the patron is asked to show the card!

    Non-UT students: If you use a student pass or pay the student fare, PLEASE show your ID card! Especially if you’re age 12 or older (including any passenger boarding next to a school!). These days, you really can’t tell the adults from the teenagers.

    Here’s MY proposal for the fare increase:

    75 cents local, 50 cents per “fare zone” on express.

    35 cents senior/mobility impaired, 25 cents per “fare zone” on express

    Students pay the same fare as regular patrons, but get a discounted monthly pass.

    $2.00 day pass for local, $4.00 express

    Senior/Mobility Impaired Day Pass is half-price with ID

    25 cents for ‘Dillo routes, 10 cents senior/mobility impaired.

    Monthly pass: base on price for 10 day passes ($20 local, $40 express). Student passes are prices 30% less, and senior/mobility impaired are 50-75% less.

    STS Fares and passes should be set at 2.5 times the regular fare as allowed by ADA. Monthly passes for STS priced at 20 one-way rides. STS passes will be accepted on regular and express services.

    The fact is: The cost of providing bus service is going up. Every percentage of revenue is important to running bus service. No one is “owed” a free ride because of age, disability, veteran status etc. As far as City of Austin employees go (including Police/Fire/EMS), their City IDs are accepted for fare on Capital Metro buses. It is possible for Capital Metro to offer discounted passes to the VA and senior centers, the schools for the visually-impaired and hearing-impaired, shelters, and the like.

    In this fashion, the responsibility for the fare will fall on the patron (and not Capital Metro).

  5. Steven

    Actually, after reading Capital Metro’s fare proposal, I agree with most of it.

    The only things I would change would be the student cash fare and the reduced fare for military.

    Students are students from the beginning of the month to the end of the month. A discounted bus pass would be the better thing because it would be faster at the fare box than cash.

    Military personnel, whether they’re active, reserve, or retired, would be difficult for the average bus operator to figure out. Just like the various City of Austin IDs that have to be figured out, there are many variations of military ID that would have to be interpreted.

    If Capital Metro were to market a Smart Card program for students and the military, and set the criteria for those cards, the guesswork would be eliminated for the bus operator. The GFI fare box system is highly underutilized. Anyone not using a monthly pass, but is entitled to a discount or waived fare, should be using a Smart Card.

    Wonder why some drivers just “let things go” when it comes to the fare box? Because management won’t back the drivers up when there’s a dispute. This also happens with some drivers letting passengers commit unsafe acts on the bus (but I won’t get started there).

    All buses should have properly working camera systems (Not that stupid DriveCam, but the system with as many as 7 cameras on the bus with constant recording). If a bus operator challenges a patron for the correct fare or ID and the patron gives the operator attitude or otherwise refuses to comply with a polite request, the operator presses the RECORD button and files a report. Not paying the correct fare on a bus is a Class C misdemeanor for “Theft of Service”.

    “I pay taxes, so why should I pay a fare?” Did you just pay sales tax on a $600.00 item before you boarded the bus? Capital Metro’s share of sales tax revenue is 1 cent of the 8.25 cents you pay on each dollar. It takes about $6.00 per passenger to run the system. (That’s the last figure I remember; it might actually be more than that now. Annual budget divided by number of passengers per year.)

    Bottom line: Fares are important to any bus system. If the bus company doesn’t collect fares, it is possible that the federal government will stop granting operating subsidies to the bus company. Capital Metro would not be able to buy new buses or have the funds to maintain their current fleet. How about the fuel to run the buses? No help there either.

    I read the Bus Rider’s Union Free fare proposal. Looks like whoever wrote it thinks that only UT students ride the bus. Boarding passengers from both doors gave me that clue. Because bus operators do not get timely assistance from supervisors or management, certain groups of people will make a Capital Metro bus their “motel” while the bus is in service. “Free A/C”! Not to mention all the beer cans and bottles rolling down the aisle. Many working people would not want to sit or stand in a bus that reeked of stale beer, human waste and vomit.

    Keep the fares, and make the fares “fair” to all groups.

  6. abbiehoffman

    This whole discussion appears to be rather one-sided, and i cannot believe that the non-capmetro affiliated patrons have not spoken up in greater numbers about the fare increase.
    Probably because over 70 percent make under 40K a year and do not have internet access.

    Steven, lets think about things logically. Yes we all pay -those that ride the bus- both fares AND the 1 penny sales tax. A person who makes 100,000 $ a year, say he saves $50,000 a year, and spends the other half. He’s only taxed on HALF his income. But, take for instance the majority of capitol metro bus riders, that make say 10-12,000 a year, and spend every bit of it just surviving. They are taxed on 100% of their income. Does this seem fair? To raise the fares?

    For the annual budget for the fiscal year of 2007
    cap metro’s revenue was comprised 71 percent by sales tax, NOT fares, 2008 something like 78 percent, leaving roughly 11 percent from fares. So is increasing the fares REALLY going to help metro, who is NOT in the red by any means? 34 MIllion surplus last year? I think 130 MILLION was estimated for the Rail, yet there hasn’t been an independent audit done of cap metro in 11 YEARS, so there’s no oversight on where this money is even going to. 1997 John Sharp did the auditing and people went to JAIL the FBI was involved, obviously there are some concerns.

    PR people from cap metro say they’re raising the fares because ‘increased fuel prices and the cost of employees rising wages’
    The reason StarTran even considered striking was because the 3% raise metro was going to give them came out of their MEDICAL BENEFITS.

    So i’m sorry, but once you have FACTS, its clear there is more than once discrepancy on the necessity to raise fares. What happened to natural gas powered buses? Cap Metro opted for diesel what, 4 years ago or something? reap what you sow?

    More than that, the fact is people like myself, who have been poor their whole lives, and depend on buses for everything, are now even more crippled because of this, and it comes out of food bills, (which inflation already hit cheese etc). What is the purpose of having public transportation in a city? It’s primary goal, is for people to use it! Not to scrape a profit out of the poor’s pockets!

    House the Homeless has filed an Administrative complaint on cap metro due to what they feel is a Civil Rights violation:Title VI of the Civil Rights Act which requires that the needs of low-income and minority populations to be considered in transportation planning. Who’s really being considered?

    And will cap metro even allow me to be this truthful on their blog?

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