Rate Hike Planned For ‘The T’ In Fort Worth

FORT WORTH (CBSDFW.COM) – It doesn’t matter if you’re a daily commuter, heading downtown for the weekend, or just in town for a vacation. By late summer, it’s likely going to cost everyone more to get around using public transportation in Fort Worth.

The currently free Molly the Trolley, that takes you around downtown, would cost $2.00. Free rides for disabled riders on fixed routes will now be $1.00. Daily commuters could see costs go up an average of $1.27 per day.

If approved, the rate hikes would be the first by the Fort Worth Transportation Authority in more than four years. It’s part of an effort to increase revenue and the percentage of the budget supported by fare, which last year was less than 10 percent.

“We don’t think this is a substantial increase, but at the same time, to meet the needs of this growing community, it’s one of the things we need to do to provide the service this community asks us for,” said Curvie Hawkins, an assistant VP of Planning for The T.

For daily commuters, bus fare would climb a quarter, from $1.75 to $2.00. However, free rides on another bus within a two-hour window would disappear. For riders needing a couple bus routes to get where they’re going, it means a day pass, with a proposed cost of $5.00, will now likely be the cheapest option.

That has some riders like Danette Wicker saying they’ll just walk.

“I will, just in outright protest,” Wicker said Thursday. “It’s such a lack of communication.”

Wicker said she first heard of the rate hike from a bus driver. The actual numbers though, she said, were not available until she attended a public meeting Wednesday.

The T said it had provided information online, and notices about public meetings on all buses.

When looking at the new fares, Wicker said it was not a fair comparison for The T to demonstrate that they will still be lower than public transportation fees in Dallas. “When we get light rail, it will be fair and equitable,” Wicker said. “It is not fair and equitable now. You cannot compare The T to DART.”

Some of the biggest increases would be to students, seniors and the disabled currently eligible for reduced fares. Monthly and annual passes good for buses and the TRE would more than double.

Hawkins said there was a goal to get reduced fare prices to a legal ceiling of 50 percent of full fares.

The T will hold a second public meeting on the fare proposal May 30 at noon and 5:30 p.m. at the ITC, 1001 Jones Street.

The board will vote on the proposal in June and the new rates would take effect in mid-August. Hawkins said the effective date was planned to coincide with the start of the new school year, as some students could be affected by the new rates.

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