Approximately 6,355 Westchester County Bee-Line Para Transit riders will have to reach deeper into their pockets beginning Monday, June 20th. The one way fare is projected to increase on that date from $4.00 to $5.00; a 25% hike. The last increase was in 2008 from $3.00 to $4.00. This change comes on the heel of a recent announcement that White Plains Bus Co. and Suburban Charter is to be sold . The bus rental company supplies the vehicles and drivers for Westchester County’s Para Transit. They are presently in contract with National Express , a leading British international public transport company. The new contract is scheduled to begin next year.
The higher fares might be a hurdle for many riders. Some are lucky enough to have their transportation partially or fully subsidized by their employer but for most it will be a test of their budgeting skills. So far the base fare for the fixed route bus transportation in Westchester County is $2.75. Under Federal Transit Administration rules the fare for the American with Disabilities Act Para Transit user “shall not exceed twice the fare that would be charged to an individual paying full fare” on a fixed route service.
To ameliorate this burden, Westchester County Government should consider a discount if four or more books of ten tickets each are purchased. Instead of $50.00 per book it would be $45.00. For a rider who is on a fixed income the difference between $180.00 and $200.00 can be significant. The commuter will benefit and the drivers will have less cash to handle. It will also be a powerful indication that our local government understands and empathizes with the typical Para Transit rider’s economic constraints.
Written comments from the public will be received up to Thursday, June 2, 2016. Prior to that deadline there will be a public hearing at the County Center on Tuesday, May 31st. (See Below Table) The time for the hearing is 6 P.M.– 9 P.M. Although probably not intentional, the time is going to prevent attending for those who do not have Para Transit during those hours.
Para Transit trips provided have increased notably since 2013. In 2013 it totaled 235, 034, 2015 it was 272, 835. The accompanying expenses have also risen from $9, 053, 654 in 2013 to $11, 025, 769 in 2015. The 2016 projection to fall 2016 is $11, 247, 000. Although fare hikes are never popular, the above suggested discount formula is one major step towards alleviating the negative economic impact and reducing the controversy.
THREE DIFFERENT WAYS TO COMMENT
CHOICES DATE/DEADLINE HOW
TO COMMENT ORALLY, ATTEND THE PUBLIC HEARING TUESDAY, MAY 31, 2016 LOCATION:
WESTCHESTER COUNTY CENTER
198 CENTRAL AVENUE
WHITE PLAINS, NY
6 P.M. – 9 P.M.
(BUILDING IS ACCESSIBLE)
WRITE AN EMAIL RECEIVED UP
TO JUNE 2, 2016 EMAIL ADDRESS:
WRITE A LETTER RECEIVED UP
TO JUNE 2, 2016 MAIL TO:
WESTCHESTER COUNTY DEPARTMENT OF PUBLIC WORKS
100 EAST FIRST STREET
MOUNT VERNON, NEW YORK 10550
Further Information, visit http://transportation.westchestergov.com/bee-line-bus