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SALT LAKE CITY (AP) -- Over the objections of advocates for the poor and the disabled, Utah Transit Authority trustees have voted unanimously to raise fares for bus and light-rail service.
On May 1, the basic adult fare will increase 5 cents, and in 2006, it will go up another 10 cents. Disabled and senior tickets will increase 10 cents in May, then another 5 cents in 2006. The fare for paratransit will increase 5 cents in 2006.
UTA General Manager John Inglish dismissed a request by Salt Lake County Mayor Peter Corroon to study the feasibility of a no-fare system or reduced-fare rides during off-peak hours to help the poor.
"UTA is not a social service agency," Inglish said Wednesday. "We are not in the business of identifying what people's incomes are."
However, it will meet with interest groups within the next few months to search for ways to make public transportation more affordable, he said.
Trustees turned down Inglish's fare increase proposal last month because of protests over a proposed 25-cent bump in paratransit fares. Those increases were scaled back in the plan approved Wednesday.
The fare hikes will raise $1 million to offset costs from increased fuel costs and the need to replace some aging buses, Inglish said.
Bill Germundson of the Anti-Hunger Action Committee complained that transit riders pay twice because the majority of UTA's funds comes from sales taxes.
Board member Necia Christensen said only one-half of 1 percent of the sales tax goes to the UTA, and it is not enough to fund a no-fare system.
(Copyright 2005 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)