Next week, DCTA will conduct Public Meetings to discuss some important modifications to our fare structure. The proposed modifications will align with our regional partners while also creating some opportunities to promote our mid-day rail service and encourage more trips on our local transit system. The comments of the public are an important part of the decision-making process.
The decision to change rates at DCTA is based on three integrated goals.
- Retain a Regional Seamless Interface between Transit Systems
The genesis for this change was a decision by our regional partners (DART and the Fort Worth T) to increase the cost of reduced passes, the monthly regional passes ($120 to $160) and annual regional passes ($1200 to $1600). While DCTA is and will remain an independent entity, DCTA has committed to work with our partners to provide reciprocal fares. Seamless connectivity is important to our customers who regularly ride multiple systems and is critical to the long-term success of the regional transit system.
- Sustain Ridership Gains and Serve the Transit Dependent
The core business of a transit agency is to build ridership and serve the needs of those who have transit as their only viable transportation option. DCTA is not increasing any fares for our Connect (fixed route bus), Access (paratransit), and Connect RSVP (demand responsive bus). We are also proposing a two-hour fare to replace our current one-way fares and lower cost A-train fares during the middle of the day. Both of these recommendations will simplify transfers between bus and rail and allow for more affordable travel options on the local system between Trinity Mills, Lewisville and Denton. While a few of our regional fare riders will be impacted (monthly and annual passes), we believe we can mitigate much of this impact through our bulk pass program which includes many potential options for reduced Annual Pass purchases and the University Pass Program. We have worked hard to build our ridership and we do not any fare changes to have a negative impact on our ridership growth.
- Be Financially Responsible
While maintaining ridership is primary, we also must balance ridership with cost recovery. We did not assume in our FY13 budget any additional revenues from a fare increase, but this is something we do consider in our long-range financial planning.
The current local system and regional system reduced fare structure is well below the industry standard. The proposed restructuring includes a modest increase in the reduced fares to better align with the industry and parallel our regional partners. Charging fares commensurate with the service being provided is fair to all riders and the financially contributing communities.
Even with the modest increases being proposed, transit is still a great value. You can calculate your commuting costs here.
We are eager to hear from you over the next couple of weeks. Let us know what you think at one of the meetings or through our web site. A summary of the proposed modifications and a schedule of the public meetings can be found online.
Thanks for riding DCTA!