Transit Commission defers action on fare increase
At this afternoon’s Transit Commission, the commissioners decided to defer action on the fare increase to the next meeting. Next Tuesday and Wednesday night, the Common Council will conduct their final budget hearings. The commission wanted to wait and see what was approved at those meetings first.
There were several members of the public who spoke during the public hearing portion of the meeting. Several were from the Congregations United to Support Humanity (CUSH), a couple were residents of Library Park, and another was a resident/business owner in the downtown area. They wanted to know how much it would cost to increase the Saturday bus service back to an hourly schedule, and transit director Ron Iwen said that it would cost approximately $90,000. Roughly 53.2% of that amount could come from state and Federal funding, leaving approximately $40,000 that would have to be paid by the city. The 2013 operating budget was submitted assuming the fare increases.
Iwen said that Kenosha’s buses are currently the cheapest in the state and, even with the fare increase, they would still remain one of the cheapest in the state.
Other citizens also spoke. Marita Huff, from CUSH, said that she has interviewed bus riders. She found that they believe that tickets are a good value, and that they are willing to pay more for better service (meaning going back to the hourly service on Saturdays for all routes). She wanted to know if the city would restore hourly bus service for three additional routes on Saturdays. “Service every two hours leaves a lot of people high and dry, which is especially bad in the winter,” Huff said. “I feel that better service would encourage ridership.”
Iwen said returning Saturday service to ten hourly routes would cost the city about $180,000 a year. He also stated that there is no money to put that additional Saturday service back on.
Raymond Cameron expressed his opinion that there will be decreasing service, yet the fares are being increased. “It’s not fair,” he said. “Free money is not always a good thing for business,” he continued.
One woman asked if the school system pays for student passes, and Iwen replied that they do.
Chairman Eric Haugaard said that he had another meeting to attend, and Iwen then offered to address any additional questions and concerns after the meeting. He also provided his phone number if anyone had questions that they’d like to raise. His phone number is (262) 653-4290.
After the meeting adjourned, Iwen stayed on for further discussion, which centered around the streetcar expansion. See the accompanying article, “Public Speaks Out On Streetcars.”