The AC Transit board tonight is expected to raise fares in the latest of a series of public transit fare increases sweeping across the Bay Area and California.
For anyone who wants to attend, the meeting is scheduled to start at 5 p.m. at AC’s headquarters at 1600 Franklin St, Oakland. The basic fare is proposed to rise from $1.75 to $2 on July 1.
It’s too bad, many transit advocates say, that fares are going up after a year in which ridership made strong gains as many people, frustrated by higher gas prices, left their cars at home and rode the bus or train.
AC Transit board members have said a fare increase is a bitter but necessary medicine to combat the sharp decline in sale tax revenues that provide much of bus operating funds. AC leaders also grumbled that their district took a $25 million hit in the state’s raid on transit funds to balance the state’s budget. Based on those repeated statements, a good guess is the board will adopt the fare hike.
You also can expect some public grousing though. Some district critics are incensed that AC Transit is going after a fare hike even though the district won voter approval in November to double a parcel district from $48 to $96 annually in most of the district. Other transit systems in the East Bay don’t collect parcel taxes to hep them cover operating costs, critics note.