Eau Claire Transit holds off on bus fare increase - WQOW TV: Eau Claire, WI NEWS18 News, Weather, and Sports

Eau Claire Transit holds off on bus fare increase

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Eau Claire (WQOW)- At its Wednesday night meeting, the Eau Claire Transit Commission heard from residents about a possible increase in bus pass fares.

The increase would only be for the day pass fares, going from $3 to $4, and was set to go in to effect on January 25, but that decision was tabled at Wednesday's meeting.

Mark Quam, president of the Chippewa Valley Transit Alliance spoke out at the meeting against the hike in prices.

"If you're going to increase the fare by that much at some point down the road, show us what your operating expenses are, show us where there's a loss.  If there are losses, then an increase is certainly justified, but I think sometimes we raise fares and you don't really have a good explanation," said Quam.

Eau Claire Transit said the attempted price hike came after the city's finance department pointed out that, on the books, day passes have been set at $4 since 2014.

At Wednesday's meeting the commission decided, instead of increasing the rates, the city would write it off as an administrative error in the budget.  Now, in order for the rates to go up, it would have to be worked in to the 2017 budget.

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Eau Claire (WQOW) - A trip with Eau Claire Transit could cost you $1 more come next year.

In November 2013 during its budget process, the Eau Claire City Council approved a fare increase from $3 to $4 for day passes. News 18 spoke with the chair of the Eau Claire Transit Advisory Commission, Donna Berry. She said this is her first time she's been made aware of the price bump.

Berry said the increase could affect many riders who are on fixed incomes and ridership numbers. "I'm hoping it doesn't affect ridership, but it might,” Berry said. “Typically, as a general world, when fares increase, ridership goes down and that's something that we never want to see."

In a public hearing notice, Eau Claire Transit said the fare increase to day passes will help recover costs of providing the trips to its riders. The hearing will be held on January 20 at 6 p.m. in council chambers at City Hall. Eau Claire Transit said it plans to implement the fare increase on January 25.

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