City delays bus fare hike talk again

2014-02-03T17:15:00Z City delays bus fare hike talk againDarren DaRonco Arizona Daily Star Arizona Daily Star

Talk on bus fare increases got nixed again from the city’s meeting agenda.

City Manager Richard Miranda removed the item from Tuesday’s meeting.

This is the second time bus fares were bumped from the agenda this year.

Mayor Jonathan Rothschild scratched it from the Jan. 22 meeting because he wanted the council to digest the results of a transit panel before addressing policy changes.

No reasons were given for the delay.

The city is setting its sights on a $40.7 million transit budget for next fiscal year. That would amount to a nearly $2.6 million reduction from this year.

To reach that goal and address some future costs, city staff estimates an extra $6 million will have to come from either fare increases, cuts or a combination of both.

If neither of those occurred, the city’s beleaguered general fund would have to cover the difference.

While the council has options on how it wants to implement fare hikes, if at all, the main proposal has base fares going up 25 cents in fiscal year 2015 and proposed increases in other types of fares as well.

Those increases could fetch the city an extra $2 million next year.

But reaching a consensus on fare hikes or services cuts won’t be easy.

The Bus Riders Union has already launched a campaign to combat any fare increases or substantial service reductions.

And Councilwoman Karin Uhlich said she’s also reluctant to support fare increases.

Contact reporter Darren DaRonco at 573-4243 or ddaronco@azstarnet.com. Follow on twitter @DarrenDaRonco​

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Arizona Daily Star's Government blog includes stories and related items from Tucson and Pima County written by Star reporters Darren DaRonco and Jamar Younger.

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