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NEW 25% PARA TRANSIT FARE HIKE

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:
BEELINE@WESTCHESTERGOV.COM
WRITE A LETTER RECEIVED UP
TO JUNE 2, 2016 MAIL TO:
WESTCHESTER COUNTY DEPARTMENT OF PUBLIC WORKS
& TRANSPORTATION
100 EAST FIRST STREET
9TH FLOOR
MOUNT VERNON, NEW YORK 10550
Further Information, visit http://transportation.westchestergov.com/bee-line-bus

Comments(3)

  1. Reply
    D Fuster says

    I happened to contact the office at ParaTransit and asked for a reasoning as to why there has been an increase in fare for WC passengers. I was told that due to the fact of rising gas prices, fares needed to be increased. However, after I reviewed overall gas prices over the past 5 years, I came to the realization that gas prices have indeed gone down drastically.

    I am well aware that the prices of fuel for the vehicles are drastically lower than the new vehicles. The Older large vehicles use diesel fuel, and as we all know; the price of diesel is substantially higher than the price of regular gas. So the quest I am raising is “Why am I being told that the issue involves gas prices when in reality, gas prices have gone down”.

    I conducted further research, and I have discovered that there has been a recent transfer in ownership of ParaTransit. Now, when I reviewed this situation, I found it to be a tad bit coincidental that prices have gone up while at the same time, ownership has increased too.

    I have also discussed with the bus drivers issues regarding their contract. Now, from what I have been told… all pay raises have been frozen until 2017. So using the excuse of raising salaries is considered unacceptable.

    The question I raise is this, “Where is the money going?” “Why did ParaTransit increase the fares?”

    I honestly feel that there are other explanations which may answer these questions…. However, the responses are possibly ones in which we may not be all that fond of.

    We must consider the following, 87.3% of all disabled people are unemployed…. which means that at least 87.3% of the passengers using ParaTransit are unemployed and are therefore under a situation in which every dollar matters.

    Now I am well aware that there are “Meetings” in which people may discuss to a board their concerns. Lets be honest, these so called “meetings” are nothing more than a group of angry people venting to therapists who aren’t listening. I am personally writing to the local politician about this situation.

  2. Reply
    Mike Strobel says

    When it comes to disabilities, we are not only dealing with people who have physical issues. We are also dealing with people with mental health issues. I am afraid that there may be a few passengers that may become extremely disconcerted due to this issues because they feel that they have nothing to lose

  3. Reply
    Verona says

    As a
    long-time para transit rider, I am not in opposition to the fare increase based on the current quality of service. I rely upon para transit for traveling to work, medical appointments, and recreational trips. I am satisfied to know our County provides a safe and reliable transportation service for its residents with disabilities. The fare increase hasn’t happened since 2009 and since that time, there has been a steady increase in riders and this number will go up each year. How can the County sustain this rapid ridership increase and reliance upon para transit services without occasional increases?

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