Bus fare likely will increase next year

Filed under DAYTONA BEACH

BY JAMES HARPER
DAYTONA TIMES

Volusia County Councilman Josh Wagner, who represents the majority of Daytona Beach, said he voted last week to start the process of increasing the cost to ride the Votran by 50 cents because he wanted to give Votran the opportunity to conduct meetings to hear from the public.

Volusia County Government spokesman Dave Byron said no date has been set yet for a final public hearing and that it will probably won’t happen until later in the year.

Byron also noted that “any fare increase likely would be effective early next year.”

Raise fares or reduce service
Councilwomen Deb Denys and Joyce Cusack voted against moving ahead with the increase.

Wagner, who agreed with Pat Northey, Pat Patterson, Doug Daniels and Volusia County Chair Jason Davis to begin the process, told the the Daytona Times this week, that he is not sure he will support the increase during the final vote.

“I am looking forward to hearing from public. The problem is that we either need to raise fares or reduce the level of service. The only other option is to increase the general fund subsidy. However, there appears to be little support for in increased subsidy,” Wagner concluded.

Current fare in place since 2007
According to information provided to council members, Votran faces a projected increase to the general fund subsidy of an additional $2 million forecasted in 2015.

Votran’s current fare structure has been in place since January 2007.

Staff members propose increasing the single ride cash fare to $1.50 with an accompanying increase in pass prices. The estimated additional annual revenue generated is $231,533.

“If fares were increased to $1.75 with an accompanying increase in pass prices, the estimated additional annual revenue would be  $347,778,” said the documents obtained by the Daytona Times.

Lower than statewide average
The County Council wants to raise the fares in two steps.

The target date for first increase would be Feb. 2, 2014. A second increase would occur Feb. 2, 2015.

Revenue generated by a fare increase would help to deal with the funding challenge. Currently, the fixed route case fare is $1.25 and the day pass is $3.

These amounts are lower than the statewide average of other Florida transit systems.

The county hosted a meeting with city leaders hoping they would volunteer to chip in to pay for increase in costs to operate the bus system.

County Manager Jim Dinneen recommended the 50-cent increase after there was no offer of help from any of the local cities.

One Response to Bus fare likely will increase next year

  1. John R Haneke

    I do agree that Votran must raise fares! Cost of operations have accelerated greatly during the time period of no increases in the fares.(Fuel etc) However this is a band aid approach. The increase proposed will not come close to covering what truely ails Votran. This sysytem is at best 10 years behind times. They threating decreasing service when in fact any further reduction in service will be untolerable. What would help is a complete rethinking of the present management of the entire system.
    Just a quick glance at what is really going on would be the waste that is built into the present scheduled fixed route structure with EVERY bus terminating at one point. Just using the present published schedule this translates to over 6500 hrs a year with equiptment and manpower doing nothing but polluting the air while sitting at the Transfer Plaza not to mention the times spend inroute, sitting, just so they can be at a point on time when running early! Another interesting fact would be that total combined inbound and outbound buses at the Volusia Mall is 111 times a day! Really??? There is no connection to the west side of the county on Sunday or some holidays as well as NO SERVICE what so ever in the entire system on certain holidays. Then they threaten to reduce service even though ridership is increasing at approximately 5% every year…come on WAKE UP and smell the coffee!!!!!
    Maybe its time for this county council to start looking into what really is going on here. McDonld Transit is not working to well and giving this county the most bang for the least buck. Stop looking at all these pretty plans and presentations based on out dated data. Its time for them to step up to the plate and put Volusia County back on the map! Giving people a dependable and reliable alternative method to reach employment should be their first goal and bring this system into the 21st century!!! Just sayin!

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