Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Despite public opinion, bus fares likely to go up

The Capital Times is reporting that, despite overwhelming public sentiment against the move, the city will likely increase bus fares when the final budget is passed.

I still don't think this is a good idea, and suspect that the increased fare may lower ridership or make it static enough so as to negate any financial benefit from the rate hike.

What I'm still in the process of finding out, too, is if the city currently has their fuel prices locked in, and if so, what that number is. In the past, they've been able to lock in at rates lower than the state average, saving them a good chunk of change. If that's still the case, then all this talk of the rate hike being related to higher fuel costs seems a bit dubious. That's not to say that the overall upward trend in prices isn't hurting them at all, but I'm skeptical of their claims that it's one of the main reasons for the increase. It doesn't help that offsetting fuel prices seems to be at the bottom of the list of things they'll do with the revenue.

I don't doubt that they're hurting. Everyone is. But I wonder if there are ways to shift the burden around so that it has less impact on essential services like mass transit. A few alders even made proposals that might have helped, but they were all rejected by the city's financial committee.

Presumably these are all people with a far better grasp on economics and the city/metro budget than I, but I can't help but wonder...and remain opposed to the rate hike.

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