TriMet may raise paratransit fares

Posted on February 24, 2014

On Feb. 26, the TriMet board of directors is expected to vote to approve the third and final phased-in LIFT paratransit fare increase of five cents.

In 2011, the phased-in fare increase was supported by both the Committee on Accessible Transportation and the TriMet board to bring the LIFT paratransit fare equal to the adult two-hour ticket, which is currently at $2.50. The fare increase will help with the cost and growth of the service.

The LIFT program, mandated by the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), costs more than $32 million and has grown on average nearly 9% per year since 1992.

TriMet LIFT fares for the door-to-door paratransit service are lower compared to peer agencies, according to TriMet. Currently the LIFT cash fare is $2.45 for a two-hour ticket; the cost to TriMet is nearly $31 per ride. The ADA allows paratransit fares to be a maximum of twice the cost of a fixed-route fare, or up to $5.

Most transit trips taken by people with disabilities and the elderly are on fixed-route buses and trains. About 11 million trips are taken on buses and MAX, compared to one million trips on LIFT.

In January, the board held a first reading of the proposed ordinance and a public hearing. If approved, the fare increase will take effect on April 1, 2014.

During the phased-in fare change, TriMet has maintained the Honored Citizen fare for fixed-route service at $1. Riders eligible for Honored Citizen fares are those who are 65 or older, on Medicare or have a disability.

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