A proposal to eliminate the low-income rate for Sun Van used by many with a serious developmental or physical disability has been rejected.
The Tucson City Council voted unanimously Tuesday night to scrap the proposal to boost the cost per ride from $1 per trip to $3 — $6 for a round trip.
The decision was preceded by an hour of heart-wrenching testimony from parents of disabled children, advocates from local nonprofits and low-income senior citizens dependent on the paratransit service.
Behind their stories of personal tragedies and overcoming life-changing obstacles, their message to the council was singular — they could not afford the price hike on their fixed incomes.
Many told the council they would be forced to choose between going to work, their doctor’s appointments and the grocery store, unable to afford all three.
Mark Mendibles rejected the idea of using the less expensive Sun Tran bus service, saying it was impossible to traverse city streets in his wheelchair.
“Due to my physical limitations, it is virtually impossible for me to get from bus stop to bus stop. The distance is too great,” he said.
Many said they were surviving on just $700 to $800 a month, with most of their income going to pay their rent.
The council is expected to revisit the issue in roughly 45 days, with staff directed on Tuesday night to identify other ways to bring in new revenue.