Zina Greenlow is waiting for a bus ride home at a bus stop on 65th Street near Folsom Boulevard. She says public transit is the only way she gets around.
“Get to work, go run errands, everything basically. Everything I do revolves around the bus and light rail.”
Greenlow says she’s not happy about the prospect of paying $2.50 for a bus ticket instead of the current basic fare of $2.25 – especially on the heels of a 25-cent fare hike back in January.
“It’s getting hard. People are losing their jobs. We don’t have enough money in the economy, in the system. How are we going to make it? How are we going to pay a bus fare like that if we don’t have the money to pay?”
RT officials say they realize another fare hike would hit many riders hard…but they say they have no choice.
“This is not the situation that we want to be in. We’re looking at a $9 million budget deficit for the next fiscal year.”
Spokeswoman Alane Masui says RT was expecting to get transit assistance dollars from the state. But California’s budget crisis has put a nix on those funds. Masui says they’ve cut costs, implemented a hiring freeze of non-critical positions and are now looking at reducing or eliminating some bus routes. But all that still isn’t enough.
“We are doing everything that we can do avoid service reductions and fare increases. But unfortunately with this huge state raid and the severe decline in local sales tax revenues, we are now forced to consider these options.”
That’s not much comfort to riders like Zina Greelow who depend on RT to get around.
“The fare already went up what like the beginning of this year and we’re going up again already? Yes, I will still use the bus because it’s my only form of transportation but I really do think it’s totally unfair.”
Monday's public hearing is set for 6 PM in the RT Auditorium at 29th and N Streets.