AC Transit Board Considers 25-Cent Fare Increase

By J. Douglas Allen-Taylor
Monday March 09, 2009 - 07:40:00 PM

The AC Transit Board of Directors will consider a proposed 25-cent fare increase at its Wednesday evening meeting. 

According to an AC Transit staff report, the bus district “is facing very difficult financial challenges due to heavy reliance on revenue sources that are directly affected by the current economic crisis.” Without a fare increase, the report says, the district is facing a budget deficit of “at least $52 million in 2010.” 

The regular AC Transit board meeting will be held at 5 p.m. Wednesday, March 11 at the AC Transit headquarters at 1600 Franklin St. in Oakland. 

AC Transit staff is recommending an increase in the bus district’s base fare from $1.75 to $2. Youth, senior and disabled fares would increase by 15 cents, from 85 cents to $1. Youth monthly passes would go up $13, from $15 to $28. Senior and disabled monthly passes would see an $8 increase, from $20 to $28. If the board approves the recommendations, the proposed fare increases will go into effect July 1. 

AC Transit originally proposed the fare increase last year, but with several board members up for re-election last November, the board postponed the fare increase in favor of putting a parcel tax increase on the ballot. At a public hearing held last year, many speakers asked the district to come up with alternative proposals that would increase revenue without raising fares. Alameda and Contra Costa County voters approved the district’s Measure VV last November, but district staff says that the continuing economic downturn, including elimination of state transit assistance in the governor's new budget, has forced the district to put the fare increase back on the table.