VIA riders worry about proposed fare hikes
New fares would go into effect Feb. 1 if approved
Some frequent riders of VIA Metropolitan Transit said Tuesday that a proposal to raise fares will impact their lives.
"There's a lot of people trying to get to work. A lot of people depend on the bus," Armando Garcia said.
Santiago Robledo said his budget is already tight and he can't afford more than he already pays. He is a frequent rider.
"Every day twice a day, three or four times, because I have two jobs," he said. "I just think it's more than what it should be."
According to VIA's website, the proposed fare hikes include:
- Regular bus service - from $1.10 to $1.20
- Regular bus half fare - from 55 cents to 60 cents
- VIAtrans service - from $1.75 to $1.95
- Monthly Big Pass - from $30.00 to $35.00
- Monthly Big Pass half fare - from $15.00 to $17.50
Priscilla Ingle, vice president of public affairs for VIA, said the agency is playing catch-up. Fares have been the same since 2009, but operating costs have not.
"During that time, the cost to provide the service has increased, and the fares only pay for 17 percent of the cost of providing the trip," Ingle said.
Fuel is among the major costs, Ingle said. In 2009, VIA spent $13.3 million on fuel and in 2012 the agency spent $19.7 million.
Roberto and Lydia Sadiwa, who take VIA buses every day, think the proposed rates are reasonable due to the fuel costs incurred by VIA.
"I think that's fair enough, because everything's going up. We don't have any complaints," Lydia Sadiwa said.
The VIA Board will present the proposal to the Local Governmental Approval Committee for a vote. If the committee agrees with the board, the new fares would go into effect on Feb. 1, 2013.
VIA officials will hold a public meeting for citizens to discuss the proposed fare adjustments on Monday, Dec. 10 at 6 p.m. in the VIA Metro Center at 1021 San Pedro Avenue.
For a list of stories Jenna Hiller has done, click here.
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