The pockets of Tompkins Consolidated Area Transit commuters are about to become lighter.
Yesterday morning, the TCAT board of directors approved an increase in single zone cash fares from 75 cents to $1 and from $1.50 to $2 in multiple-zone cash fares, to begin Jan. 1.
The fare hike stems from TCAT’s $500,000 increase in expenditures due to higher insurance costs, higher fuel prices, increased hours of bus service and an employee pay raise.
To maintain good relations with their riders, TCAT will also begin offering an unlimited-use, multi-zone, calender-month pass for $30.
If commuters in Zone 1 use the pass for at least two trips per work day, the extra cost of the fare hike is negated, according to a Cornell News Service press release. Zone 1 includes all of the City of Ithaca, Cornell University, Ithaca College, Cayuga Medical Center, Tompkins County Airport and Pyramid Mall.
Passes for any consecutive 30-day-periods and short-term passes will also be available in late spring 2001.
Henrik N. Dullea ’61, vice president for University relations, stated that the new fare appeals to rural commuters because by using the pass, they save $50 each month. Multi-zone travelers currently make up only six percent of TCAT’s income.
“By boosting rural ridership, TCAT can receive more state aid,” Dullea explained.
The escalated fare will not affect current Cornell-issued passes, which will remain unchanged for the remainder of the 2000-2001 term, according to Dullea.
“The TCAT pass is an increasingly good deal,” Dullea said. “We do our best trying to keep the price down for local commuters as well.” He expressed confidence that the modest $3 increase for a month pass for single fare commuters would not negatively affect ridership.
Some frequent bus riders disagree and are upset over the increase.
“I wouldn’t pay a dollar, hell no, it’s insane,” Gabe Thaisz ’04 said. “They should let us use Big Red Bucks.”
Darragh Caldwell ’04 agreed, stating that the University should pay more than its current 2.7 percent of the fare for students.
“The bus should be free considering we pay 32 grand to go here,” Paul George ’04 said.
Archived article by Rachel Einschlag