To deal with a state budget crunch, Metro Transit in Minneapolis plans to reduce or cancel service on approximately 70% of its weekday routes and impose an across-the-board fare increase of 25 cents.
The service reductions work out to about 10% of the total hours the buses run annually, but recommendations still face public hearings in April and a vote by the full council.
"Our guiding principle is if we have to make reductions, we stay in a position to grow again," said Brian Lamb, general manager of Metro Transit. "Taking 10%, it does put us a little out of balance."
The Mineapolis Metropolitan Council, which operates Metro Transit, blamed a $60 million budget shortfall projected for the next two years. The shortfall is the result of an unstable motor vehicle sales tax replacing property taxes as the bus system’s primary means of finance.
Metro Transit officials said the fare increase and the service cuts are expected to reduce bus ridership by more than 4 million a year.
Any fare hikes would take effect July 1, and service cuts would happen in September and December.