When riders of the Mid-Ohio Valley Transit Authority’s Easy Rider buses look back on the past 28 years of reliable service, it is important to remember during all that time bus fare has remained a very affordable 50 cents. Meanwhile, in 1986 – the last time bus fares were changed in Parkersburg – a gallon of regular gasoline cost 93 cents. A postage stamp cost 22 cents.
But while Transit Authority managers would be well within their rights to seek a fare increase of more than double the current amount, they are, instead, asking for an increase of just 25 cents for bus fares (10 cents for seniors, students and those with disabilities). Hearings are scheduled for Monday and Tuesday on the matter, and public comments are being accepted. It seems clear, though, the Transit Authority has been a good steward of the levy funding and other revenue it receives while providing a valuable service to this community.
It is part of that effort to “run a tight ship when it comes to finances,” that led to the planned fare increase. “We see potential issues down the road that we need to address,” said General Manager Tim Thomas.
For example, while the Transit Authority does a fantastic job of maintaining its buses for far longer than most other such agencies, it will eventually need to replace vehicles. One bus can cost approximately $140,000. And, the Transit Authority would like to expand its service to the area by adding much-needed commuter routes. That, too, will cost money.
Officials are looking for an incredibly reasonable increase, which will leave fares still at the low end of the transit-cost spectrum. In fact, one resident, who has already taken the opportunity to comment on the matter, said he would pay even more than what is being asked, and the proposed increase is “all right with me.”
Most who have benefited from the Transit Authority’s services will likely feel the same.