[Source: Doug Murphy, Ahwatukee Foothills News] — In two weeks fares on the Valley’s public transit system will jump, with the local all-day ticket for a bus or light rail increasing a buck from $2.50 to $3.50. But the kicker is that if you buy the ticket on a bus with cash, the price jumps from $2.50 to $5.25. For RAPID riders like Mel Hannah, who catches a bus at Pecos Park and Ride, 40th Street and Pecos Road, the surcharge on an all-day pass will be even more. An all-day pass purchased in advance will cost $5.50, while the same ticket will cost $7.25 if riders wait until they board. New rates start July 1.
Hannah understands the need for the basic fare increase to help make ends meet. “I can somewhat understand the rational since all levels of government are going through a budget crisis,” said Hannah, who rides the bus almost daily from his home in Ahwatukee Foothills to his job with the Greater Phoenix Urban League, near downtown Phoenix. His problem is the extra charge for people who buy their ticket when they board. “The fee to buy on the bus is tremendously higher than if you buy in advance,” Hannah said.
The extra fee is a calculated strategy to encourage people to buy their tickets in advance and prevent delays in boarding as riders search for change. According to transit officials, that’s exactly the idea. “We want to encourage our bus passengers to purchase their one-day fares online or at fare vending machines, transit centers or at retail outlets,” said David Boggs, Valley Metro executive director. “This will help speed up the boarding of our buses.” [Note: To read the full article, click here.]