Public transit riders may soon see the cost of a ticket go up between $.10 to $0.40 for a single fare and from $0.85 to $16.00 for a multiple use pass. Charlotte Area Transit System (CATS) manager of public and community relations, Jean Leier, says the increase would help keep the current operating hours and levels of service.
"The one thing that our financial policy does is it looks at small increases every two years versus waiting many years and having to do a substantial increase that would really have a negative impact on our customers," Leier says. "You know, a twenty cent would be much different than if you waited many years and all of a sudden had to do – let's say – a dollar to two dollars."
Without an increase, it says there would be a $2.8 million gap in revenue for the 2015 fiscal year. A report by the CATS civil rights group found that fare increases disproportionately burden minority and low-income riders. Minority riders make up 75 percent of its customers and low-income riders – individuals with a household income of less than $10,000 a year – make up 27 percent of its customer base. The increase could take effect as early as July.
Registration is now open for a public hearing on the proposed fare increase on March 26 at 5:30 p.m. at the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Government Center in uptown.