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Rapid fare increase approved, ridership decrease expected

Rapid bus fare increases

Rapid management approved the transit line’s first fare increase in seven years.

The increase applies to all fares in the Rapid transit system, and takes effect on October 1.

It includes a single adult rate increase of a quarter to $1.75. Monthly passes will go from $40 to $47, and a reduced-fare monthly pass increases from $26 to $30.

Public comment was collected earlier this summer, with residents and organizations expressing concerns over affordability – especially agencies that provide fare vouchers for low and fixed-income residents.

Federal requirements state fare increases must not have a more than 20 percent disparate impact on minority and low or fixed-income riders.

Rapid officials say their study of the numbers falls within requirements. They say non-minority riders would be affected 17.22 percent more than minority ridership, among other findings.

Funding decreases at the state level were cited several times in relation to Rapid budgeting and future solvency. The state provides just under a third of the Rapid’s operating budget, with another third coming from property taxes.

A decrease in property taxes was also cited as a concern.

Officials say they project an annual decrease of 440,000 rides due to the fare increase, and an additional $428,000 in revenue.

The transit authority provided more than 12.5 million rides in 2014.

Hilary is a General Assignment and Enterprise reporter for WGVU Public Media. She joined WGVU in September 2014 after several years of experience as a local news reporter, anchor and photojournalist in Midland, Saginaw and Bay counties. She's also worked as a financial and business reporter and audio field producer.
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