Everett Transit brings fare increase before City Council
EVERETT - Everett Transit is proposing an across the board fare increase effective Jan. 1, including for seniors and disabled riders. The City Council, though, is questioning charging seniors and the disabled.
If fares go up, seniors and disabled riders on a reduced fare permit would pay 25 cents, youths 75 cents and adults $1.
The City Council decides fares and is set to vote on the fare increase at its Wednesday, Oct. 31 meeting. Everett Transit is taking comments on the increase up to that date.
The agency is introducing a charge for riders on reduced fare permits because it found a small number of people were abusing the system, program manager Steffani Lillie said. In an enforcement sweep, the agency found people using other people’s permits to ride for free.
Most other agencies in the region, including Community Transit and King County Metro, charge for reduced fare permits.
City Councilwoman Brenda Stonecipher said she’s concerned this would impact people who least could afford a fare increase just to address a very small problem.
Disabled rider Adrian Patayon agreed.
“Why can’t we show the driver who we are” instead of increasing the fare, Patayon said. “I have an ID.”
Rider J.T. Dray called the fare increase a social justice issue. Dray said Everett Transit irresponsibly spent money on a 10-year anniversary party for Everett Station and for continuing to offer free transit services on the Fourth of July.
“We can’t afford it,” Dray said.
The fare increase is to cover an increase in fuel prices, Lillie said. The agency signs a bulk fuel contract each year and next year it will be $3.75 per gallon. In 2009, the contract was $2.06 per gallon.
The agency hadn’t kept up with fuel costs, which “unfortunately is one of the reasons we had to make cuts,” Lillie said.
The agency had its last fare increase in 2008, and had a fare adjustment in 2009 when it did away with transfers, Lillie said.
There will be a public comment period through Wednesday, Oct. 31, when the City Council will be expected to vote on the increase. People can e-mail comments to Everett Transit at ETMail@ci.everett.wa.us, call 425-257-7777 or mail comments to Everett Transit, 3201 Smith Ave., Everett, WA 98201.
There will be two public meetings on the fare increase. The first one is 5 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 11 in the Dan Snow Room at Everett Station, and the second meeting is 5 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 24 at the Evergreen Branch Library, 9512 Evergreen Way.
Everett Transit cut 15 percent of its bus services Aug. 26 because of revenue drops.
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