Twin Cities area residents who rely on dial-a-ride services to get around not only face changes in service, they also are looking at potential fare increases for those services in 2010. At its July 22 meeting, the Metropolitan Council set a series of public hearing dates to review information on proposed fare adjustments and hear comments from the public.
Federal Transportation Administration guidelines and Metropolitan Council policy require that any fare adjustments be reviewed through public hearing process to adoption. Any fare increase would have to be voted on by the council later this year, following a review by the council’s transportation committee.
The committee and full council will review public hearing comments before making decisions.
Currently dial-a-ride fares are set by area and provider. Changes would take effect Jan. 1, 2010. While the public hearings are required as part of the fare change process, they also provide a chance top educate the public on the changes coming to the dial-a-ride program. Dial-a-ride services have a higher average subsidy per trip than fixed route trips by bus or light rail. A higher fare is recommended for longer trips given the higher costs for these trips. So far, the fare changes had been broken into three tiers. A Tier One trip, of up to 10 miles, would cost $2.25. The return ride would be free. Tier Two trips of more than 10 to 20 miles, would cost $4.50, with a group fare of $2.25 each. For Tier Three trips of more than 20 miles, the fare of $6.75, or $4.50 each for riders in a group. All fares would be oneway.
ADA-certified riders fares would be capped at $4.50 per one-way trip.
How can riders weigh in? The public comment period is July 23 – Sept. 28. There are several ways for members of the public to comment. To submit written comments, send them to the Regional Data Center at 390 N. Robert Street, St. Paul, 55101 or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org Comments can also be made by calling the Comment Line at (651) 602-1500, by calling (651) 602-1140, TTY (651)291-0904 or by fax at (651) 602-1464.
Public hearing schedule
- 1:30 to 2:30 p.m., Tuesday, Sept. 8 at Brooklyn Park Library, Meeting Room, 8600 Zane Ave. N., Brooklyn Park. Served by Regional Transit Route 723
- 1:30 to 2:30 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 9, Maplewood Library, Large Meeting Room, 3025 Southlawn Drive, Maplewood. Served by Regional Transit Routes 64, 80, 219, 223
- 1:30 to 2:30 p.m., Thursday, Sept. 10, Dakota County Northern Service Center Conference Rooms 110A & 110B,1 Mendota Road West, West St. Paul. Served by Regional Transit Route 75
- 10:30 to 11:30 a.m. Friday, Sept. 11, Anoka County Government Center County Board Room, Room 705, 2100 Third Avenue, Anoka. Served by Regional Transit Routes 766, 805, 852
- 10:30 to 11:30 a.m. Thursday, Sept. 17, Scott County Government Center County Board Room, Room 209. 200 Fourth Avenue West, Shakopee. Served by Regional Transit Route 496
- 1:30 to 2:30 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 17, Ridgedale Library, Robert H. Rohlf meeting room, 12601 Ridgedale Drive, Minnetonka. Served by Regional Transit Routes 615 and 675
- 10:30 to 11:30 a.m. Friday, Sept. 18, Washington County Government Center County Board Room, Room 100, 14949 62nd Street North, Stillwater Dial-a-ride services services are available
The fare changes are among several changes being eyed as part of the region-wide restructuring of services, which also won approval July 22. (See related story to read about how dial-a-ride services will change.)