AC Transit Board Votes to Raise Fares for Most of Its Services

Photo: AC Transit  users will experience fee hikes as the agency experiences a major budget deficit.
Anna Vignet/File
AC Transit users will experience fee hikes as the agency experiences a major budget deficit.

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In a meeting last night, the AC Transit Board of Directors decided to raise daily and 10-day bus fares but voted against increasing 31-day pass costs.

The board's decision included a daily fare increase-raising the adult fare from $1.75 to $2 and youth, disabled and senior fares from 85 cents to $1.

Other fares that will increase are the 10-Ride tickets, to rise from $8.50 to $10, and transbay fares, which will increase from $1.70 to $2.

The vote was in response to a projected $57 million deficit due to the economic downturn. The cuts will add about $5.7 million in revenues.

In a nearly unanimous decision, the board decided to maintain the price of monthly bus passes at $15 for youths and $20 for seniors and the disabled.

But Rocky Fernandez, the board's president, said the stability of the monthly bus pass price is uncertain.

"I know I made a promise to keep the (monthly) passes for the seniors, disabled and youth at where they are," said Rocky Fernandez. "I'm willing to do that now, I can't say I'm willing to do that in the future."

Board member Greg Harper said increasing the 31-day pass fee would not make much of a difference in terms of the agency's deficit.

"It's not that I don't appreciate the $5 million, but when I have a $50 million hole, I don't start with a fare increase," he said.

Other board members, however, said any fare increase would be helpful.

"All of our riders need to be part of the solution," said board member Jeff Davis. "For every dollar we don't get from all of our participants, that's one more dollar we'll have to cut from other sources."

Board members said they still expect some funding from Measure VV, which raised the parcel tax in Alameda County in an effort to stave off fare increases.

"Even though we will get some new revenue from the passage of Measure VV last November, it is neither big nor quick enough to completely offset our catastrophic loss of state funding," said AC Transit General Manager Rick Fernandez.

Many community members-including Bob Allen, director of Transportation and Housing Program at Urban Habitat-also spoke, hoping to sway the decision against increasing fares.

"Protect those who are most vulnerable, so vote no on any increase," Allen said. "Keep your promise, so that you can build trust. We want a public commitment that's clear so the public knows what you're working towards."

Karen Smulevitz of United Seniors of Oakland and Alameda County expressed happiness the board did not change the 31-day pass fare.

"I'm so relieved that they voted for an option that did not raise the fare for youths, seniors, and the disabled," she said. "We won this battle tonight, but there are more in the future. We just have to keep our voices heard."


Contact Keena Batti at [email protected]

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