The Columbus Dispatch reported yesterday that COTA's operating board is considering a rate hike for most routes and passes starting next year. The increase would allow the expansion of routes throughout Central Ohio and increase revenues by approximately $2.4 million.
Currently the majority of COTA's operating budget comes from Franklin County sales tax, and the goal is to have the passengers pay more of "their fair share," according to COTA president and CEO Bill Lhota.
The changes are as follows:
- Local one-way fares increase from $1.75 to $2.00.
- Express routes increase from $2.50 to $2.75.
- Monthly local passes increase from $55 to $62.
- Monthly express passes increase from $78 to $85.
- Weekly passes increase from $22 to $25.
- Daily passes increase from $4.00 to $4.50.
- Discounted rides for senior citizens (older than 65), children, and disabled riders woudl increase from 85 cents to $1.00.
- Rides for riders qualified for COTA's Mainstream service would increase from $3.00 to $3.50, and a monthly pass would increase from $89 to $105.
- Mainstream's sedan-voucher service woudl increase from $4 to $5.
- Mainstream's will-call service would increase from $3.50 to $4.00.
In addition, COTA would end the policy of giving free rides on fixed routes to those disabled riders who qualify for door-to-door service. The amount per ride would be $1.00 as indicated above.
There will be two public hearings about the fare and policy changes:
- October 11, 12:00 pm (noon).
- October 13, 6:00 pm.
Both hearings will be at COTA's downtown headquarters at 33 N. High St. in Columbus. COTA plans to vote on the changes by November 16th.
Fare changes normally don't cause a major dip in ridership, with the last fare change being in 2010. Ridership normally stabilizes after an initial dip.