The OCTA board of directors approved a proposed bus fare increase after two months of community outreach and discussion about the measure to help address rising operation costs. The board approved the proposal as a way to ensure the agency’s eligibility for the state funds that primarily support its bus system.“It is never a good time for a fare increase. Every time you increase the fare, you are hurting someone and I don’t want to discount that because it is a difficult decision,” OCTA CEO Will Kempton said. “We postponed a consideration of a fare increase two years ago because we were in the throes of a recession, but we are looking for ways to do things more efficiently that will provide transit services more cost-effectively to Orange County residents.”
OCTA has not increased bus fares since January 2009 because an increase in sales tax revenue in 2011 allowed the agency to avoid raising fares last year. However, the cost to provide bus service since 2009 has increased from $98 per service hour to $108. The agency became in jeopardy of falling below the “farebox recovery” requirement for state funding, in which California law states OCTA collect from passengers a minimum of 20 cents for every dollar spent on bus service. Failure to meet this requirement would jeopardize Transit Development Act funding, a major source of revenue for transit operations. To gather feedback from Orange County residents and provide information about the proposal, OCTA conducted five open house meetings from Sept. 20 through Oct. 4 in the cities of Fullerton, Laguna Hills, Los Alamitos, Orange and Santa Ana. The board then discussed the proposed increases at its Oct. 22 meeting. OCTA will be providing more information about the fare increases before they are scheduled to take effect February 2013.
OC Register coverage here — “Directors Janet Nguyen, Orange County 1st District supervisor, and Lorri Galloway, an Anaheim councilwoman, opposed the increase.” Our earlier post on this gouging of the transit-dependent: BOHICA!