On July 1, AC Transit will increase the cost of fares and passes for the first time since 2011, according to the AC Transit website.
According to AC Transit media affairs manager Robert Lyles, the fare increases are overdue and necessary to prevent bus service interruptions. The fare increases will not affect UC Berkeley students as the increases will not change prices for the EasyPass fee, which provides AC Transit pass discounts for UC Berkeley students.
In 2011, ridership decreased for AC Transit because of unemployment and the “oppressively high” costs of keeping the buses in operation. Lyles said in an email that in light of the recession and in spite of these high operational costs and low ridership, the AC Transit board blocked a price increase.
“The Board was keenly aware that any fare increase would be hardest on students, working families, disabled riders and senior citizens,” Lyles said in an email.
Two years later, in 2013, the board once again blocked an increase in fares for youth, seniors and the disabled, according to Lyles.
On July 1, four years after the last block, fares paid with cash will increase from $2.10 to $2.25 for local adult single rides and from $1.05 to $1.10 for youth, seniors and the disabled.
Fares paid with Clipper cards will increase for local rides from $2 to $2.15 for adults and from $1 to $1.05 for youth, seniors and the disabled.
“Collectively, the freeze on increased fares has been in place for six consecutive years. In that time, the economy has rebounded, unemployment has been cut in half, yet operating cost continue to rise,” Lyles said in an email.
Youth, senior and disabled monthly passes will increase from $20 to $26.50. Local day passes will continue to be $2.50 for youth, seniors and the disabled. The Adult Local 31-Day Pass will increase from $75 to $81.
“The public transportation fares (in Berkeley) are very expensive, having come from New York City, which is a much bigger city,” said Linda Wachspress, a Berkeley resident.
Wachspress expressed that she felt that AC Transit’s increase in disabled price fares is “greedy.”
BART spokesperson Alicia Trost said in an email that AC Transit’s increase in fares and passes won’t impact BART, as it has its own fare system. Trost added that it is BART’s policy to raise fares every other year in accordance with inflation and in order to increase predictability.
According to Trost, BART will increase its fares on January 1, 2018, by 2.7 percent.
On Thursday, BART approved an additional payment of $0.50 for fares paid with paper tickets to encourage Clipper card use.