March 1, 2016 – Sacramento Transit Advocates and Riders (STAR) Issues Statement Challenging RT proposed fare increase
In response to Sacramento Regional Transit’s proposed fare increase, Sacramento Transit Advocates and Riders, which includes individuals and representatives of a number Sacramento organizations, has issued the following statement to be entered into the public record.
As riders, advocates, and tax payers, we are very concerned about the fare increase that Sacramento Regional Transit (RT) proposed at the January 25, 2016 board meeting for several reasons. Increased fares will decrease ridership. The current fare increase disproportionately impacts seniors, the disabled, and those who are low income, many of whom live in already-underserved areas and rely on public transportation. The proposed fare structure may place RT in violation of Title VI requirements.
Clearly, increasing fares without assessing or addressing operational deficiencies will not promote the significant improvements and reforms needed for RT to provide even adequate levels of service to meet our community’s needs for those who are dependent on public transportation and a viable alternative to car transportation for those who would otherwise choose to drive.
STAR supports an across the board increase of 5% provided RT agrees to commit to the following and to reporting about its progress at the RT Board meetings no less than quarterly:
- The conducting of an independent operational audit that includes, but is not limited to, expenditures, management, efficiency issues, routes & schedules, restoration of prior service cuts, possible restoration of central city fare.
- Two hour transfers will be implemented for all fare payments including smart phone app, connect card, cash, and credit or debit cards.
- No fare categories or passes will be eliminated for at least the next two fiscal years. Any future adjustment in categories or passes will require public input and justification.
- There will be no increase in fares or passes for those under 18 years of age or low income students.
- Properly working and convenient fare payments systems including the connect card, fully operating ticket machines that take, cash (coins and paper) and debit and credit cards.
- Fare payment enforcement is a serious concern and must be addressed. Concerns include the need for consistent fare checking, negative impact of police raids, and that people without tickets should be sold a more expensive ticket on the spot rather than being issued a citation involving the court system.
- Paratransit services are critical and efficiencies, not simple cuts, must be addressed.
- Any future fare increases must be fully justified, incremental and not result in steep increases.
- No capital expansion is allowed until RT is financially stabilized and the items above are implemented.