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Santa Rosa CityBus changes could hike rates, cut service

  • (PD file photo)

Bus fares will go up and service levels go down under a plan heading to the Santa Rosa City Council today.

Adult fares on CityBus will go from $1.25 to $1.50 under the plan, a 20 percent increase. Monthly adult passes would go from $40 to $50, a 25 percent increase.

Rates for users of Santa Rosa ParaTransit, which takes disabled people door-to-door, will increase from $2.50 to $3. Rates for youth and those who qualify for other discounts will also increase by similar amounts.

The last time fares went up was 2008, when they went from $1.10 to $1.25.

The transfer policy would also be tightened to allow just two transfers within 90 minutes of purchase, instead of an unlimited number within two hours.

Service levels would decrease by about 7 percent. Some routes would run less frequently each day while others would run fewer days each week.

An example of the service reductions is what will happen to the weekday bus schedule for the routes Bennett Valley (Route 2), Stony Point Road (Route 15) and Piner Road (Route 17). The routes are "low performers" and would be reduced from a frequency of once every half-hour to once an hour.

Transit managers note, however, that the reduction in frequency of service should help the remaining buses to run on time.

Route 1, which runs along Mendocino Avenue, up Chanate Road and up to Fountaingrove Parkway would be eliminated on Sundays because of low ridership.

The changes are part of a comprehensive update to the city's short-range transit plan, which must be updated every four years.

The changes are needed because of a reduction in sales tax revenue and uncertainty about future use of federal funding.

The boost in fares is expected to increase annual revenue by $500,000. The changes are aimed at meeting federal transportation grant requirements that fares make up 20 percent of the system's operating budget, 10 percent for paraTransit.

The fare increases and service reductions would take place Feb. 1, 2013.

A public hearing on the proposal is scheduled for 5 p.m. today at City Hall.

You can reach Staff Writer Kevin McCallum at 521-5207 or kevin.mccallum

@pressdemocrat.com. OnTwitter @citybeater

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