Rising fuel costs prompted the Pinellas Suncoast Transit Authority (PSTA) in Clearwater, Fla., to consider hikes in several of its fare categories.
The PSTA’s board of directors was scheduled to vote on the proposed fare increase at its April 25 meeting. If approved, the slate of fare increases was to take effect on Aug. 5.
Under the proposal, cash fares for regular service would increase from $1 to $1.25. Riders using demand-response service would pay $2.50, up from $2. It would also eliminate the reduced cash fare for students, who pay 50 cents per ride. Their fare would increase by 75 cents.
The proposed fare structure did not include increases for weekly and monthly passes. In addition, children under 6 years of age would continue to ride free.
PSTA spokeswoman Janet Recca said hikes in diesel fuel prices, which climbed as much as 35% in the past year, are driving the proposal. Another factor is rising insurance costs, she said.
During the past fiscal year, the PSTA transported 9.7 million revenue passengers. It operates 155 transit coaches and nine trolleys on 38 fixed routes and seven commuter routes.
About 45 miles south of Clearwater, Manatee County Area Transit (MCAT) in Bradenton has also suffered through the fuel crunch, but believes it will not have to raise fares.
Peter Gajdjis, MCAT’s assistant division manager, said the additional outlay for fuel will be absorbed within the budget. The MCAT has not raised its basic fares since 1987, he said.