Everett Transit fare increases proposed
EVERETT — A proposal introduced in May would essentially double most of Everett Transit’s fares using gradual increases.
The first change would be a 25 cent increase across the board in January, and escalate 25 cents more in July 2019, January 2020 and again in July 2020. Student fares would be capped at $1.
Everett Transit’s fares are already the lowest in the region. Its bus fares currently are $1 for adults, 75 cents for students and youth, and paratransit fares are $1 each way.
Under the proposal, by 2021 the fares would be $2 for adults, $1 for students and $2 for paratransit.
Community Transit’s regular bus fares, for comparison, are $2.25 for adults and $1.50 for youth. This fall Community Transit plans to increase its adult fare to $2.50.
Cumulatively, the increases would net an additional $2.1 million by 2023 in fare revenue for Everett Transit, according to the agency’s estimates.
Transit director Tom Hingson introduced the proposal at a council budget subcommittee meeting in May.
The additional money is needed for capital system needs, such as to match capital project grants, Hingson said. To participate in the next-generation regional ORCA card system, for example, it will require a $1.2 million investment.
The fare increases come at a time when Everett Transit has taken heat for being unsustainable. The transit agency’s overall costs exceed revenues.
Fares account for $1.3 million in revenue annually. The biggest funding source comes from a six-tenths of 1 percent city sales tax; it provides 80 percent of the bus system’s $23.5 million operational budget. An option that would quickly raise money would be to increase the sales tax amount, according to the agency’s draft long-range plan published this spring.
The fare increases would require City Council approval.
The numbers acknowledge that the increases will cause some riders to bolt from the bus.
The agency last modified fares in 2013 with a 25 cent increase across the board, and prior to that raised fares in 2009. At the time, even with increases, the city bus system’s fares were still the lowest in the region. The 2013 fare increase caused a 12 percent rider decrease, Hingson told the committee last month.
In conjunction with the fare increases, Everett Transit may reshape much of its route system with a service change in March.
“We’re looking at a major route restructure and take service away from areas that are unproductive,” Hingson said. Some routes may be removed or redirected elsewhere. More service may be added along Casino Road as one change, Hingson said.
The system currently has 11 routes. Having less buses on the road would save the agency money, per Everett Transit’s draft long-range plan.
Community Transit’s upcoming transit hub near the Boeing plant could open up stronger route opportunities in south Everett, he noted.
Public meetings about both the service changes and fare increases are tentatively set to be held in late July or during August, Hingson saidin May.
The fare increases as proposed may be modified between now and then. The service reports it had 1.9 million boardings last year.
— Tribune archives are included in this story.
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