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TARC Proposes Fare Increases, Service Cuts to Balance Budget

The Transit Authority of River City (TARC) is proposing a hike in bus fares, the elimination of nine express routes and other service changes to offset a projected $4.6 million budget shortfall next fiscal year.Officials will seek public input on the proposed changes at six pubic meetings to be held May 15-17.“With fuel costs, health care costs and pension costs, the sad fact is that our expenses are going up faster than our revenues, so we've got to do something to balance that,” said TARC Executive Director Barry Barker.Under the proposal, one-way adult fare would increase from $1.50 to $1.75 and a monthly pass would increase from $42 to $50, among other hikes. Barker says the proposed rates are in line with public transportation fares charged in similar sized cities like Indianapolis and Cincinnati, where one-way adult fare is already $1.75.This would be TARC’s first fare increase since 2008.Barker says the routes that would be eliminated or curtailed would affect about 270 riders. He says alternative boarding options will be available to some, but not all of them.The changes are being proposed at a time when TARC ridership is increasing because of higher gas prices.Barker says the TARC staff and board are open to any ideas to help provide the maximum service possible with existing resources.Routes proposed for elimination:                                                 #37x - Iroquois-Fairdale Express#38x - Deering Road Express#45x - Okolona Express#49x - Westport Road Express#53x - Breckenridge Express#54x - Manslick Express#65x - Southern Indiana Express#68x - Prospect Express#73x - Charlestown Road Express#74 - Jeffersonville Park and RideRoutes with proposed service adjustments:#18 - Preston St.-Camp Taylor#22 - Twenty-Second Street#29 - Eastern Parkway#31 - Middletown#50x - Dixie Express#55 - Westport Road#71 - Jeffersonville#72 - Clarksville-New AlbanyNew proposed route:Route #82 would operate exclusively in Southern Indiana, linking New Albany, Jeffersonville and Clarksville.Proposed rate increases (current rate followed by proposed new rate), effective July 1: Adult Cash Fare:$1.50$1.75Student Ages 6-17:$.75$.80Senior Citizens:$.75$.80Citizens w/disabilities$.75$.80Circulators:$.50$.75TARC3:$2.50$3.00Monthly Pass:$42.00$50.00Express Passes:$80.00$85.00Express Fare:$2.50$2.7510-Ride Tickets:$12.50$15.00

Rick Howlett is host of WFPL's weekly talk show, "In Conversation." Email Rick at rhowlett@lpm.org.