Bus fares for virtually all riders will rise in July, the City Council voted 6-1 Tuesday.

The council voted to limit the hike for low-income riders from 40 cents per ride to 50 cents per ride. Transportation planners had proposed hiking the low-income fare to 60 cents per ride.

The last increase in the economy fare was in 2000, when the fare went from 35 cents a ride to 40 cents a ride.

Councilwoman Regina Romero said the council wanted to protect both riders and bus routes.

Councilman Steve Kozachik voted no, and his bid to raise the low-income fare to 60 cents was declined by the council.

The decision to limit the low-income fare to 50 cents means the city will have to come up with about $260,000 to offset the lost revenue. City Manager Mike Letcher said the difference could be made up by more riders on the system because of high gas prices.

The fare hikes will raise $1.3 million, which will help bridge the city's revenue shortfall for next year, which begins July 1.

The one-way full-fare rate will rise from $1.25 to $1.50; day passes will increase from $3 to $3.50; and one-way express fares would rise from $1.50 to $2. Full-fare Sun Van rides would rise from $2.50 to $3, and the Sun Van economy fare would rise by 80 cents to $1.

Dozens of speakers implored the council not to raise bus fares, particularly the low-income fares, because they said they couldn't afford to pay the increase. A few asked the council to raise fares and not cut routes.

Brian Flagg, of Casa Maria Soup Kitchen, who helped organize people to come to the meeting, said raising the low-income fare to 60 cents was "kicking people while they are down."

"It's an issue of poverty," Flagg said. "It's an attack on poor people."

The council also heard about plans to hike water rates by 8.2 percent to all Tucson Water users.

Under some of the proposals - which the council did not take a position on and won't until a public hearing on May 24 - the city would increase the minimum charge by to all water users, regardless of how much water is used.

In addition, proposals call for the city to raise rates on the the rate class of users who use the least water. Interim Tucson Water Director Andrew Quigley said the increase in the minimum charge and the hikes on users of lower amounts of water will make the city less reliant on water usage to pay its bills.

Kozachik said the city has focused on getting people to conserve more water, which Tucson residents have done. But he said that has led to their paying higher bills.

The average water user in Tucson would pay an extra $2.68 per month. Increases to the sewer fees by Pima County and increases to the garbage fee by the city would bring the total increase for the average water user to $6.50 a month for their combined water, sewer and garbage bill.

Contact reporter Rob O'Dell at 573-4346 or rodell@azstarnet.com