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UTA Prepares to Raise Rates

UTA Prepares to Raise Rates

Posted - May 15, 2003 at 9:04 a.m.



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SALT LAKE CITY (AP) -- The Utah Transit Authority is preparing to raise fares 25 cents on June 1.

Citing the economic downturn, the UTA intends to bump up its adult cash fare from $1.25 to $1.50. That fare would be good for two hours of riding on buses or on the TRAX light-rail lines.

The cost of a monthly adult pass -- $45 -- will remain unchanged, said agency spokesman Kris McBride. Also unchanged will be youth and senior citizen fares.

In addition, the $2.50 day pass will become the $3 day pass, and will only be offered at TRAX stations, McBride said. The agency will stop selling the day pass at other locations on June 1, but will continue to honor those purchased prior to that date.

In January, the disabled-passenger fare was raised, drawing criticism from transit advocates.

This latest round of price increases, which affects only the single-trip adult fare, is expected to draw equally loud opposition by advocates for low-income residents.

"Someone who is paid the federal minimum wage of $5.15 per hour and (currently) pays $2.50 for bus fare each day is giving 6 percent of their daily income to UTA," said Bill Tibbitts, Anti-Hunger Action Committee coordinator for the Crossroads Urban Center.

UTA's McBride said the economic downturn, which has reduced sales-tax collections statewide, was not anticipated when the agency said the $1.25 fare would hold until 2004.

"Other agencies nationwide are reducing service to deal with this problem; we don't want to do that," McBride said.

The proposal is expected to be approved by UTA's board of trustees at its May 28 meeting.

Public hearings have been held throughout most of UTA's six-county service area.

The final hearing is Tuesday, 7 p.m. to 9 p.m., at the Tooele County Courthouse.

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

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