Saratoga County

Bring two more quarters for the bus today

Today is the day when the cost of taking a basic Capital District Transportation Authority bus ride
PHOTOGRAPHER:

Today is the day when the cost of taking a basic Capital District Transportation Authority bus ride will rise from $1 to $1.50.

The fare increase was approved by the authority’s board last December and has been widely advertised.

The increase was approved in response to CDTA’s struggles with rising costs and reductions in state subsidies and other revenue at the same time that ridership demand is increasing. It is the first fare increase in 14 years.

With nearly 16 million riders a year, CDTA bus use is at its highest level in decades, up 12 percent from last year, according to CDTA officials.

The fare hike will mean at least an additional $5 million in new revenue toward the authority’s $70.4 million annual budget, bringing that budget into balance. Some less-used bus routes are also being cut.

“Raising fares and reducing service at time when more people are riding is necessary to advance our plans to serve more people in the Capital Region,” said CDTA Executive Director Ray Melleady.

The authority serves Schenectady, Albany, Saratoga and Rensselaer counties.

People paying cash will need to bring coins. The fare boxes on each bus do not make change. People concerned about getting change are encouraged to buy multi-trip electronic Swiper cards.

The increase shouldn’t come as a surprise to regular users. CDTA has been advertising the fare changes on its buses and in bus shelters, on its Web site and in print, radio and television advertising. Officials said they hope for a smooth transition.

Beyond the basic fare, other new, higher fares are $4 for a day pass, $55 for a five-day Swiper card or $65 for a seven-day Swiper card.

A 10-trip pass will be $13, while a STAR trip for the disabled will increase to $2.50 per ride. Northway Xpress commuter rides, which vary in cost by distance, are rising 25 percent.

Senior citizens pay a half-fare, which will be rising from 50 cents to 75 cents for a basic bus ride.

Long-term parking fees at the Rensselaer rail station are also going up.

A guide to the increases is available at sales outlets or at www.cdta.org. People may also contact the CDTA information center at 482-8822.

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