It seems like every day, we hear about price increases. Milk, gas and even the chicken wings you'll eat on super bowl Sunday. In less than a month, a proposal will come before the Transportation Planning Organization to raise the rates on the Bay Towne Trolley.
Some riders don't like the higher rates, but understand the situation. "They have to pay for the fuel, so fares went up, they didn't have a choice." Matthew Bober says. But after hearing from several others through surveys, the consensus was the same; they'll just have to ride less, or not at all.
If a rate hike is passed by the Bay County TPO next month, daily and monthly riders would be affected, single-ride rates would remain the same. The cost of the 1 day pass will increase from $3 to $5 and the cost of the monthly pass will increase from $30 to $40. The trolley says the cost will help cover rising gas prices and operational expenses.
"Everything has gone up. And so I think that's a lot it right there." Commissioner Mike Nelson, who chairs the TPO says he is ready to hear both sides at the February 27th meeting. "We've heard these rates and all that, but we haven't really gotten down and look into it."
When the time comes, Nelson says several things will come into play, the potential for a decrease in ridership, the finances of the organization and more importantly, the people he represents.
Commissioners would like for the Trolley to pay for itself one day. $ 270,599 were given to the organization since 2009, but Nelson says he has yet to see a transit system that sustains itself.
This afternoon I also spoke to the senior planner for the TPO, Robert Mahan. He says they are not taking this fare increase lightly and will definitely take public comments into consideration. But if this increase passes, it will be the third increase in five years.