Cap Metro Accelerates Plans for Fare Hike

Transit agency seeks fare increases

Cap Metro bus stop
Cap Metro bus stop (Photo by John Anderson)

Capital Metro's budget situation is dire enough that it's already changing direction on moves that haven't even taken effect yet.

On Monday, in a specially called meeting, the transit agency's board of directors heard a proposal from staff to further increase and accelerate hikes in fare rates, which the board had already voted to increase next August. Now, due to a 5% decrease in sales tax revenue during FY 2010, staff suggest even bigger hikes, which would take effect in January 2010. Fares on regular single bus rides would still make the already-approved increase from 75 cents to $1, as would day passes from $1.50 to $2, but express bus rides, MetroRail fares, and multi-ride pass prices would be higher than originally planned (see chart). The board directed the agency to begin public outreach on the proposal but took no other action.

Cap Metro Accelerates Plans for Fare Hike
Photo by John Anderson

The board also took public feedback on staff's proposal to kill off the 'Dillo, the faux trolley cars intended to help Downtown pedestrian mobility. Staff said the formerly free 'Dillos were already lightly used, and ridership dropped further when Cap Metro began imposing a 50-cent fare. Since the 'Dillo routes duplicate other bus routes, staff recommends axing them altogether. The few members of the public who showed (the hearing was held at noon) urged either keeping the 'Dillos or merely mothballing the service and bringing it back when financial times improve. They noted that while other routes may duplicate the 'Dillo, they don't duplicate the 5-minute service of the trolleys, and that the 'Dillos are more inviting to tourists than regular buses.

Among the speakers was Thomas Butler of the Downtown Austin Alliance, who said that while the DAA would not oppose a suspension of the service, the organization definitely wanted to see a Downtown circulator service of some type in the future.

In other Cap Metro news, the agency's largest labor contractor, StarTran Inc., announced it would lay off 11 full-time and two part-time drivers due to declines in service levels and elimination of routes, but said it could probably rehire them to new positions in MetroAccess, Cap Metro's renamed service for passengers with physical disabilities.

Proposed Rate Increases

Current FaresPlanned Increase Aug. 2010New Proposal Jan. 2010

Regular Fares

Local bus single ride$0.75$1.00Same
Express bus single ride$1.50$2.00$2.50
Metro Day Pass$1.50$2.00Same
Express Bus Day Pass$3.00$4.00$5.00
MetroRail – 1 zone*$1.00$1.50$2.00
MetroRail – 2 zones*$1.50$2.00$3.00
MetroRail – 3 zonesN/A N/A $4.00
MetroRail Day Pass*$3.00$4.00$6.00

Disabled/Senior Reduced Fares

Disability Fare CardFreeFree$0.25
Local bus single ride$0.35$0.50Same
Express bus single ride$0.75$1.00$1.25

Multi-ride Passes

Local bus 31-day pass$18.00$25.00$28.00
Local bus 7-day pass$7.00$8.00Same
Express bus 31-day pass$36.00$48.00$63.00
MetroRail 31-day pass$36.00$48.00$75.00
Value Card ($15 stored value)$12.00SameSame
MetroAccess Monthly Pass**$22.50$30.00$35.00
MetroAccess 10-ride booklet**$7.00$9.00$12.00
RideShare (in service area)$45.00$50.00$60.00
RideShare (out of area)$75.00$85.00$100.00

Reduced Fare Passes

Local bus 31-day pass$9.00$12.50$14.00
Disabled/senior 31-day passSameSame$10.00

*Of course, MetroRail still hasn't actually started service yet, but these are the rates that would have been in effect now.

**Riders eligible for MetroAccess ride free on Local, Express, and MetroRail.

A note to readers: Bold and uncensored, The Austin Chronicle has been Austin’s independent news source for almost 40 years, expressing the community’s political and environmental concerns and supporting its active cultural scene. Now more than ever, we need your support to continue supplying Austin with independent, free press. If real news is important to you, please consider making a donation of $5, $10 or whatever you can afford, to help keep our journalism on stands.

Support the Chronicle  

READ MORE
More Capital Metro
City and Cap Metro Contemplate How to Make a
City and Cap Metro Contemplate How to Make a "Real City” Transit System
Following the slow march toward a vote on a multibillion-dollar investment in public transit

Austin Sanders, Jan. 17, 2020

Mapping the Future of MetroRail's Green Line
Mapping the Future of MetroRail's Green Line
Jan. 10 is the last day to provide feedback on new rail line

Mike Clark-Madison, Jan. 10, 2020

More by Lee Nichols
Game Changer
Game Changer
A new football culture for Austin bars

Oct. 23, 2015

Beer Flights
Beer Flights
Celis: welcome home

Aug. 17, 2012

KEYWORDS FOR THIS STORY

Capital Metro, 'Dillo, fare increases

MORE IN THE ARCHIVES
NEWSLETTERS
One click gets you all the newsletters listed below

Breaking news, arts coverage, and daily events

Can't keep up with happenings around town? We can help.

Austin's queerest news and events

New recipes and food news delivered Mondays

All questions answered (satisfaction not guaranteed)

Information is power. Support the free press, so we can support Austin.   Support the Chronicle