(PHOTOS AND STORY: SPOKANETRANSIT.COM)
At their July 2016 board meeting, the STA Board of Directors approved a new fare structure to be implemented in two phases: Phase 1 effective July 1, 2017; Phase 2 effective July 1, 2018. The decision was made after an outreach process and a public hearing that resulted in changes to the original recommendation. Based on public input, the Board directed staff to phase in the change over a two-year period, delay the increase for reduced fare passes until the second year, and to retain student and youth summer passes.
Revenue generated by the new fare will be used to help pay the operational costs of running the buses.
See the full list of fare changes and more information below.
Why is the fare changing?STA’s passenger fare policy aims to have riders share at least 20% of the cost to run the buses, 3% less than the national average. In recent years, inflation and the cost to run the buses have increased, which means the riders are paying a smaller portion of the overall cost. When the new fare is fully implemented in 2018, the portion STA riders pay will be about 22%, still under the national average of 23%.
How does the new fare affect Paratransit customers?Paratransit customers will see a $0.50 increase for a One Ride pass, which is equal to the increase for a 2-hour pass for Fixed Route customers. The increase will be phased in over a two-year period beginning in July of 2017 and completing in July of 2018. See the full list above for all changes.
How does the new fare relate to STA's Proposition 1 ballot measure?Since the beginning of 2015, STA has told the community that passenger fares are anticipated to increase periodically over the next 10 years, independent of past or future ballot measure outcomes. Fare increases are heavily influenced by the cost of providing services, which like groceries and other goods, is subject to increases. We have been and are continuing to consider all forms of funding in order to sustain and grow service.
How does STA's performance compare to other transit agencies?STA’s costs to run fixed route buses (cost per passenger) continue to be significantly lower than the average of our Washington state urban peers: 31.7% lower in 2015.
Once the new fares are fully implemented in July of 2018, Spokane Transit fares will remain among the lowest in the state. Most other transits are charging as much or more today than what will be implemented in 2017.
What kind of outreach did STA do prior to approving the fare increase?STA conducted public outreach from April to June of 2016 to gather feedback from the community. Staff gave more than 30 community presentations and received more than 300 online survey responses. A Public Hearing was held on June 16 before the Board approved the new fare structure on July 21.
When did STA last change the fare?STA’s last fare change occurred in phases between 2010 and 2012. Once implemented in 2017, it will have been 5 years since an increase. The current two hour pass costs $1.50, and will change to $2.00 over a two-year period. The first phase of the increase (additional .25 cents) would be implemented July 1, 2017, and second phase of the increase (additional .25 cents) would be implemented July 1, 2018. See the list above for a detailed list changes.