Eau Claire (WQOW)- The Eau Claire 2018 budget proposal could mean a hike in bus fare for transit riders, but some Eau Claire City Council members are pumping the brakes.
As it stands, the 2018 budget proposal includes raising the city bus fare from $1.50 to $1.75 for one adult rider. Ahead of the vote, some city council members are pushing an amendment that would transfer $37,000 from the police department's allocated budget over to Eau Claire Transit to keep fares from going up.
Those behind the amendment said Eau Claire Transit has gotten disproportional increases in the budget over the years compared to other city departments, and the city should be making an effort to bring in more bus riders, rather than turning them away. Some council members estimate that, based on a national algorithm, there would be about 30,000 fewer rides if this fare increase were put in place.
"We're at a time when there's people that are really struggling out there, and they're trying to get a job. We don't have a grocery store downtown right now so they need the bus to get to quality, healthy food. This is their way to get around town. When you know 31,000 less rides are going to happen, you know that there's people's lives that are going to be impacted by that and to me, that's a quality of life issue," said Council member Andrew Werthmann.
According to council documents, the police department would use that $37,000 to add downtown parking enforcement and patrol overtime.
The council is expected to vote on the budget Tuesday.
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