AC Transit proposed to increase local bus fares Friday and scheduled three community meetings to invite public feedback regarding the proposal.
The proposed increase would impact both cash and Clipper card fares. According to the proposal, the current cash fare of $2.25 for an adult single local ticket would increase by 15 cents in July and continue to increase every other year by 25 cents until 2023. By 2023, the price for an adult cash single local ticket would be $3.00
AC Transit media affairs manager Robert Lyles said in an email that the fares support the array of AC Transit services. Operating costs and capital needs have increased, and federal funding has become an uncertain funding source, according to an email from Lyles.
“Maintenance cost are rising due to chronic mechanical issues. New coaches are needed yet they are costly,” Lyles said in the email. “Additionally, the state of California has a new law that mandates all state public transit agencies must convert bus fleets to zero-emission buses (ZEB) by 2040. A change in fare would help pay these cost.”
Berkeley resident Mariana Munoz was not aware of the increase but did not look favorably upon it. She said in Spanish that the proposed increase is difficult because she doesn’t work enough. Munoz also explained that because she has three children, even a 15 cent increase is too much.
Berkeley resident Vito Fabbrizio knew about the proposal and supported it if it meant that the services would improve.
“As long as it’s going to improve the buses, maybe better passes, I’m OK with it,” Fabbrizio said.
The city has no comment on the fare increases as of press time, according to city spokesperson Matthai Chakko.
In addition to the proposed fare increase, AC Transit has proposed Clipper card discounts and a new mobile app, according to the press release. The proposed discount incentivizes cash customers to switch to Clipper cards to reduce “bus dwell” times.
AC Transit encourages community members to provide feedback to these proposals, Lyles said in the email. According to the press release, the earliest decision about the increase will be made by the AC Transit board of directors meeting Feb. 27.