HSC Presents to City Council on Public Transit Survey and Transportation Empowerment proposal
Executive Director Gina Marsh and Transportation Committee Chair Reginald Harris presented before City Council’s Education, Innovation, and Growth committee today on the results of its public transit survey . Among the highlights of the survey:
- 58% of riders regularly use the bus to get to work/school;
- 76% of these riders have household incomes below $25K and 38% below $15K;
- 84% do not have a car.
- 42% rely on bus to get to grocery store;
- 38% rely on bus to get to medical appointments.
SORTA’s Reinventing Metro plan proposes annual fare increases amounting to an overall increase of $1.05 by 2028. Zone 1 fare would increase from $1.75 to $2.80. That’s a 60% increase in fares over 9 years. 36% of the respondents in our survey with household incomes below $25K said they could not afford a 25-cent fare increase.
HSC proposes the establishment of a Transportation Empowerment Fund that would provide free or discounted bus passes to those from households that are at or below 200% of the Federal Poverty Level. Non-profits and government agencies that serve low income residents would purchase the passes at a 50% discount then distribute them to eligible citizens. This would offset the reduction in ridership that is projected to occur with proposed fare increases. We believe a commitment of $300k/year, which is .6% of the Transit Tax Fund, for 3 years would provide significant impact to ensure lower income residents can maintain employment and self-sufficiency.