Proposed RT fare increases to be addressed next week


Students board a Sacramento Regional Transit bus directly in front of the American River College campus. RT released a plan to raise fares that would include eliminating the paratransit monthly pass, among other changes. (File Photo)

Jordan Schauberger

Sacramento Regional Transit (RT) has plans for drastic fare increases effective July 1.

Although the proposed 20 percent increase to the regular $100 pass won’t affect current students, the discounted fare of $50 for senior, disabled and Los Rios students with three or fewer units will see increases between 30 percent and 40 percent.

Paratransit, which provides transportation for the elderly and individuals with disabilities, will also be experiencing huge changes.

The single-ride fee with increase from $1 to $6 and the monthly pass will be eliminated.

Under the new proposed plan, the monthly cost of taking one round-trip per day would be around $375, which is a 300 percent increase on the current $125 monthly plan.

ARC Student Sen. Laurie Jones said that the most alarming change to the RT fares was the large increase in Paratransit fees.

“This will make them homebound, more isolated, depressed, unable to access necessary life support services such as food and medical,” Jones said. “This is our most vulnerable population. Whose budget can take a hit like that, especially on fixed incomes?”

Jones added that some students, including herself, will be at the RT board meeting next Monday to protest the increases, especially the elimination of the monthly Paratransit pass.

Several ARC students have expressed concern over the possibility of raised bus pass prices.

History major Asher Bedingfield said that, while the proposal was important, it was almost guaranteed so there were more “pointed issues” to worry about.

“It’s been proposed before … they’re raising every single thing on campus. I feel the game is rigged, the dice is weighted, the cards are counted, however you want to put it,” Bedingfield said. “So whatever we say doesn’t matter (as students).”

Bedingfield also claimed that he had previously seeked help from the school but to no avail.

“I’ve been to David Hylton, the ASB student president, and he’s refused to help,” Bedingfield said. “I’ve been to Thomas Greene, the president of American River College, set up three meetings. (I’ve) never been called backed, never been emailed, never been told ‘no we’re too busy.’ ”

For students and others who feel like Asher, RT set up a public comment time for responses to the proposal presented in the end of Janurary to be heard.

The adjusted recommendation from the RT board, based on the public comments, will be posted online on Wednesday and presented at the RT board meeting Monday.

Alane Masui, spokesperson for RT, said that she would be unable to comment on any complaints or issues surrounding the proposed RT increases until after the recommendations were released.