UTA Approves Fare Hike

UTA Approves Fare Hike

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SALT LAKE CITY (AP) -- Utah Transit Authority trustees have approved fare hikes the will be less than originally proposed and will not included the originally planned increase for the paratransit service for the disabled.

Effective next Jan. 1, the basic adult fare will go up ten cents to $1.35. The original plan was to make it $1.50.

Cash-paid day passes will be $2.70. Monthly UTA pass holders, as well as the paratransit patrons, will not be hit with fare increases.

The hikes were approved Wednesday by the UTA Board of Trustees and follow a series of public hearings last spring.

UTA General Manager John Inglish said the rate increase will generate about $400,000 in additional revenue, which will be used to fill in budget gaps.

Fare revenues make up less than 15 percent of UTA's operational costs, with the rest coming from state sales tax revenues, federal grants and other programs.

UTA spokeswoman Marti Money said a proposal to increase paratransit fares was dropped due to a decrease in ridership on that service, which resulted in a drop in costs.

The drop was attributed is in part to UTA's efforts to persuade disabled patrons to switch over to conventional bus and TRAX service, now that all UTA buses are 100 percent wheelchair accessible.

As part of that incentive, UTA has been offering a "Freedom Pass" which provides unlimited use of UTA's regular systems free of charge to those disabled who would qualify for paratransit service. Money said the program has resulted in a 6 percent drop in requests for paratransit service.

(Copyright 2003 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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