New Fares Approved by Valley Metro Board
One-ride fare increases by $.50 for local bus and METRO
Phoenix, AZ (March 19, 2009) Ideally, no fare increase for the regional transit system is preferred, but not realistic with current economic conditions. Today, the Valley Metro Board of Directors approved an increase that would include offering a discount to riders purchasing one-day passes off of the bus.
As an example, currently, a one-day pass for local bus or light rail is $2.50, or twice the amount of the one-trip fare of $1.25. On July 1, a one-trip fare will change to $1.75 and the off-board price remains at two times the one-trip fare or $3.50. A premium is charged for purchasing a fare on-board the bus, which is three times the one-trip fare or $5.25.
“We want to encourage our bus passengers to purchase their one-day fares online or at fare vending machines, transit centers or retail outlets,” said David A. Boggs, Valley Metro Regional Public Transportation Authority (RPTA) Executive Director. “This will help speed-up the boarding of our buses.”
To maintain a business standard set forth by the Board in 2007, the goal of the regional agency is to recover at least 25 percent of the cost of bus operations from fares. The METRO rail system has adopted the same goal. Without the increase, the standard would fall to 23.4 percent in the next fiscal year. Prior to a 2007 fare change the last fare increase was in 1994. On December 1, 2007, the fare change kept one-ride fares the same at $1.25, but eliminated transfers, tickets and tokens and increased 31-day pass prices. The new pricing will take effect on July 1, 2009.
“We’ve seen operations costs continue to increase over the years and a fare increase is the next step to ensure that we are operating at the standard set forth by our Board,” said Boggs.
Rural fares, affecting routes that travel from Ajo/Gila Bend and Wickenburg, will increase approximately $1.00 per trip. Also impacted are the Phoenix Paratransit Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) fares (Dial-a-Ride) and East Valley ADA Paratransit (Dial-a-Ride) fares. Details about all fare changes can be viewed at www.valleymetro.org.
Bus and METRO light rail fares that take effect on Wednesday, July 1, 2009 are shown in the following chart.
July 1, 2009
Fare Policy Rules
Base cash fare for bus or light rail
3 x base fare
2 x base fare
3 x 1-day off-board
5 x 1-day off-bus
31 x local base fare
Base fare + $1.00
Local on-board 1-day + $2.00
Local off-board 1-day + $2.00
31 x express cash fare
0.5 x base fare
0.5 x local on-board 1-day
0.5 x local off-board 1-day
0.5 x local 3-day
5 x 1-day off-bus
0.5 x local 31-day
0.5 x Semester pass
0.5 x Semester pass
It is anticipated that many customers will begin to purchase their fares online or at one of the retail outlets in the Valley. Passengers may currently go to www.valleymetro.org to purchase fare in advance or go to one of many outlets also listed on the website. Current fare purchase options include:
Over 80 outlets in Maricopa County (9 Cities)
City Hall, Public Libraries, Chamber of Commerce
Eight Transit Centers
Grocery Stores and Utilities (Fry’s Food, Food City, APS)
Social Help Groups and Employers
Online at ValleyMetro.org (averaging $30k – $50k per month)
Fare Vending Machines (100 units along the 20-mile METRO corridor)
Automatic Mail Plan enables customers to obtain all passes, including Dial-a-Ride tickets and passes (Phoenix), via the mail.
Phoenix city council will be considering the fare change at an upcoming meeting as they incorporate the change into their city’s fare ordinance. The Phoenix Dial-a-Ride (ADA) fares must be approved by the city council before they are considered approved.
Valley Metro/RPTA provides eco-friendly public transit options to residents of greater Phoenix and Maricopa County, including a clean-fuel bus fleet, low-emissions light rail, a bio-diesel Dial-a-Ride fleet, online carpool matching and bus trip mapping, and bicycle and telework assistance. Funding is provided by local, state and federal revenues; and administered by a board of 15 governments working to improve and regionalize the public transit system. www.ValleyMetro.org
*Update* Here is a link to the new chart for the bus and light rail fare changes:
That info with one item per line is confusing. I get the intent, and I’m glad it’s not $5 for a day pass, but can you reorganize it?
For example in a table, or just simply saying “$3.50 for a day pass, but $5.25 if you purchase onboard a bus.” The multipliers and extra numbers in there don’t make sense as they’re presented.
David SB says
The good news: The day pass price has stayed at double a one-way fare — as long as it is purchased “off board.” That makes it easy to explain that anyone making more than just a simple one-way trip should buy a day pass. The “off board” rate is still low compared to other cities. For rail passengers, it also avoids the perception that fares have doubled just a few months after the start of service.
Potentially bad news: The premium for “on board” purchase of a day pass may disproportionately affect the transit-dependent poor. Those riders often start their journeys by bus since they can’t drive to a rail park-and-ride. They’re also less likely to have Internet access enabling them to buy passes online. Those who plan ahead can buy passes at the “off board” rate at various retail outlets, but the cost of a day pass is going to be pretty steep for anyone with a sudden, unexpected need to use the buses.
Okay, price increases are inevitable, I guess (though, coupled with a reduction in bus service hours, it’s a one-two gut punch).
Making people pay $5.25 for an all-day pass is pretty outrageous. Most people who ride the bus have pretty limited means of getting around if they’re using ValleyMetro, much less trying to make it to where they can buy a pass off-board. If there off-board purchasing places were as plentiful as, say, in New York, then it might make sense.
It seems like the overwhelming number of riders buy only single rides or day passes, which makes buying via the Internet impractical. I foresee even more slow boarding when drivers have to explain the increase & people have to scrounge to scrape up $5.25.