On Wednesday, Oxnard, Calif.-based Gold Coast Transit (GCT) adopted its first fare increase since 2003, which will occur in two phases beginning in January 2010.
Fare increases for GCT will increase from $1.25 to $1.35 for adults, while GCT's ACCESS paratransit service, for people with disabilities and seniors aged 65 or older, will increase by $0.20 to $2.70. Beginning in July of 2011, the second phase of the fare increase will take effect, with GCT's adult bus fare increasing to $1.50 and GCT's ACCESS paratransit service increasing to $3 per ride.
The fare increase is intended to help GCT offset diminishing revenues from state and local sources, which account for 80 percent of GCT's overall budget. In the past year, State Transit Assistance funding was eliminated completely and the Transportation Development Act Funds that local government use to pay for GCT transit service declined sharply.
Transit agencies across California have been forced to implement fare increases, service reductions, or both as a consequence of the elimination of state funding for transit and declining sales tax revenue.
The GCT board asked staff to report back in 2010 on the status of ridership, fare revenues and the overall budget before the second phase of the fare increase goes into effect in July 2011.