Larry Lebowitz, Miami Herald Transportation reporter, wrote last night in breaking news that the Miami-Dade Commissioners delayed their vote for a $0.50 hike in bus and train fares for Miami-Dade Transit. According to Lebowitz, the deferral puts more pressure on the mayor and the transit agency to find solutions to the current cash crunch faced by the agency, as well as to determine what promises can be salvaged from the 2002 People’s Transportation Plan campaign.
Also, in the article, Bruno Barreiro, the chair of the Commission, indicated that he is not against bringing a repeal of the $0.005 surtax, if any plans that would be forthcoming from the mayor and the transit agency were devoid of concrete plans on how to expand Metrorail as indicated in the original ballot initiative.
While the delay may mean a short-term gain for the increasing numbers of consumers of these services, it only puts off the pain of balancing the books into the future – if, in fact, this increase will balance them.
Unfortunately for those of us who do use transit, the demand elasticity just usually isn’t there for us to be able to choose an alternate means of conveyance. Especially with gasoline and diesel approaching, in some areas, $5.00 per gallon, many of us who use transit will take the fare hike in stride, and continue to use the services. $2.00 a ride, depending on length, isn’t all that bad, and it is in line with the single-rider fare of other major metropolitain areas.
Where the commission should watch out, however, is with the price of the Metropass. A fare hike from $75 to $100 will put the price of the pass out of reach of many of those who buy it, and might discourage companies that currently pay for part or all of their employee’s commute from keeping this benefit. Also of note here is that a $100 monthly pass will put the cost of this pass at or near the top of the list nationwide.
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