Commentary: Unfair Fares

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(Sacramento, CA)
Friday, May 6, 2005

Regional Transit wants to increase basic fares from $1.50 to $2, and eliminate free transfers too - all by next January.

Think about what this means for someone making a single trip that requires two buses or a bus and light rail. Today that rider pays $1.50. With the increase, she would pay $2 to board the first bus, and because there would be no more free transfers, another $2 for the second leg of the trip - or $4 total, a 167% increase. RT also wants to boost the price of a day pass from $3.50 to $6, and monthly passes from $60 to $80.

No question, RT needs the money. Fuel and labor costs are rising. Federal, state and local tax support is inadequate, and steep discounts the district offers to seniors, the disabled and students have cut revenues sharply.

That said, RT is asking for too much too soon. The transit dependent, most of whom are poor, can't afford it.


Ginger Rutland writes for the Sacramento Bee Opinion pages.