Bus, Train Fares To Increase In 2014

Most CT Transit bus fares will jump next month by 15 percent, but at least one fare will drop and the window for using transfers will be extended, the state transportation department announced Wednesday.

The cost of riding Metro-North or Shore Line East trains will go up about 5 percent in January,.

A one-way cash fare on a local CT Transit bus will rise from $1.30 to $1.50, and paratransit rides that cost $2.60 will climb to $3. The price of Hartford-region commuter express passes will jump anywhere from $12 to $24 a month depending on the route.

“We realize that it is a difficult time to raise fares,” transportation Commissioner James Redeker said in a statement. “Unfortunately operating expenses dictate the need to raise fares to maintain the current level of service.”

The DOT said it held down increases on local passes based on what it heard from the public at hearings in the fall. Two prices will go down: The all-day local pass that costs $3.25 will fall to $3, and the three-day pass drops from $7.80 to $7.50. The cost of a weekly local pass goes up 5 percent, but a full month pass jumps 14.8 percent.

The one-day cash fare for seniors and disabled riders stays at 65 cents; the price of 10-ride tickets and monthly passes goes up, but is still deeply discounted from regular fares.

The new prices take effect Jan. 19. The complete list of fares is at http://tinyurl.com/nxmr5at.

CT Transit’s Hartford district, the biggest part of the statewide operation, had an operating budget of just under $60 million in 2010. State subsidies covered about 75 percent of that – farebox revenue generated 21 percent, and federal aid and outside funding made up the other 4 percent.

Rail riders also will be paying more. Starting Jan. 1, the cost of train tickets will jump about 5 percent, the last of three consecutive annual increases that the DOT ordered several years ago. The base fare will go up 4 percent, with an additional 1 percent increase helping to pay for the fleet of new M-8 rail cars that Metro-North is buying.

“This fare increase is the third in nine years,” Redeker said. “During that time, operating expenses continued to grow due to inflation, and service has been increased on weekdays and weekends on both the New Haven Line and Shore Line East.”

Fare information for Shore Line East is at http://tinyurl.com/mdphrko, Metro-North’s New Haven Line and branch line fare details are at http://tinyurl.com/mgo8xrj.

Text by Don Stacom, Hartford Courant; video by Mike Magnoli, FOX CT

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