RTA considering cutting bus routes, increasing fares due to budget shortfall

RTA considering cutting bus routes, increasing fares due to budget shortfall (WKEF/WRGT)

MONTGOMERY COUNTY, Ohio (WKEF/WRGT) - The Greater Dayton Regional Transit Authority (RTA) may have to cut bus routes and increase the fare to ride after a $4.5 million dollar budget shortfall.

An RTA spokesperson said transit agencies around the state of Ohio are being affected because a sales tax (MCO) they rely on to operate is no longer being collected.

"We know that people use our buses to get to work they use our buses to get to school," said RTA Communications Manager Jessica Olson.

There are 6 routes that may be cut, and 6 that may be limited as a result of the shortfall, as well as changes to rates and passes.

"We've been working with state leaders on trying to find a fix, the state has found a fix for themselves, they have not found a fix for counties and for transit agencies," Olson said.

If the RTA cannot find a fix for the budget loss by the end of 2017, Routes that will be cut will include:

  • WPAFB: X1A, X1B
  • New Lebanon: Route 41
  • Brookville: Route 40
  • Miami Twp. (Dayton Mall/Austin Landing): Route 61

Limited Service transporting some Dayton High School students to Meadowdale, Belmont, Thurgood Marshall and Dunbar would also be cut after June 2018.

"We did pick service routes and times that had very low ridership in general," Olson said, "We do realize this would impact parents but we want to emphasize Dayton Public Schools does not assist with funding in any way."

The following routes could have certain service days eliminated:

  • Route 23 (Saturday & Sunday)
  • Route 60 (Saturday & Sunday)
  • Route 11 (Sunday)
  • Route 19 (Sunday)
  • Route 22 (Sunday)
  • Route 24 (Sunday)

Riders who talked with FOX 45 said they would pay the fare increase if that's what it takes to keep riding.

Olson said RTA is also recommending the potential implementation of several fare increases and changes to begin in February 2018, including:

  • Elimination of transfers
  • Elimination of change cards
  • Elimination of tokens
  • Elimination of family and weekend pass
  • Implementation of the discounted $4 day pass; includes two free qualifying children with each adult who purchases a day pass
  • Increase fare to $2 per boarding for cash/coin adult paying customers
  • Implement a $2 day pass for reduced fare customers
  • Increase fare to $1 per boarding for cash/coin reduced fare paying customers
  • Increase paratransit ticket to $4 per boarding

Olson said the only way to avoid the route cuts and fare changes is to make up for the $4.5 million by the end of the year.

"Our CEO Mark Donaghy has been meeting with state leaders and with the governor's office to try to work out a solution that would be long term," Olson said, "But we can't plan on that we have to plan for the worst."

RTA is having two public meetings for those affected to weigh in before any final decisions are made about potential cuts.

Both of those hearings will be held on November 14 in the 2nd floor multipurpose room at Wright Stop Plaza, 4 S. Main Street, Dayton.

Times are 10 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., and 6 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.

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