Danville, VA -- The cost of riding public transportation in Danville may soon go up. Thursday transportation services representatives held a public meeting to explain the changes but not one person attended.
The transportation services director explained that they have not raised the fare in nearly 20 years. But the number of people riding the buses has increased and so has the cost of gas. So, they have to make up that cost somehow.
A few times a week for about a year, disabled veteran Joseph Guzman uses public transportation to get back and forth to his appointments. Because of his disability, he qualifies for a half price ticket. But with the proposed changes, the hours for reduced tickets will be cut in half.
"I normally don't have appointments until after 12 o'clock so that will mean that I have to pay the full fare," said Guzman.
And that would mean more than twice the cost per ride and a few sacrifices.
"It's tough yeah. I mean sometimes I have to try to make ends meet...I may have to skip a couple of meals in order to make it," said Guzman.
But that wouldn't be the only change. With the proposal, the fixed route fare would increase from $1 to $1.10. A roll of tokens would go up by 10%. And half price tickets would increase by 5 cents.
"They got to do what they got to do," said Margaret Vanessa Cobbs, a bus rider.
Transit Services Director Marc Adelman says the number one reason for the increase is a decrease in the city's population. The 2010 census numbers now classify the Danville bus system as a 'rural transit system' and that means their grant money has been greatly decreased.
"As a result due to the reduced subsidy, there is a $16,000 shortfall," said Adelman.
At this point, Adelman explains they can either increase fares or decrease service. But they have to make up that money somehow. While many people understand the need for the change, some say those extra cents certainly will add up.
Another public meeting will be held Friday at 3 at Ballou Park. If approved by city council, the changes would go into effect August 1.
Other fare changes would be:
Fixed Route Fare for child under 12 would be free.
Handivan Fare would increase from $2 to $2.20.
Reserve a Ride Fare would increase from $4 to $4.40.