Disabled protest rise in Fresno FAX Bus fares

FRESNO, Calif.

"Well, it will make me a shut in," said Moore. "That's how it will impact me. I won't be able to go anywhere."

The director of the city's transportation department says a significant fee increase is necessary. Ken Hamm told the city Council the bus service has lost $10 million in state and local revenues.

"In the past three years Fax has experienced severe economic impacts. This cannot be sustained in fact if fares aren't raised fax will have to look at additional service cuts." Hamm said.

Hamm's proposal was to raise regular bus fees from a dollar to $1.25, and increase the cost of monthly passes from $40 to $48 a month. But the protests came over his proposal to raise Handy Ride fees from 75 cents to $2.50 each way, and to raise the cost of a monthly Handy Ride pass from $25 dollars to $60 dollars.

Handy Ride user Mary Kay Stolhut told the council; "Your proposal to raise the Handy Ride fair $ 2.50 to $60 dollars is outrageous. Most people who ride Handy Ride are on fixed incomes and cannot possibly pay that."

After considerable discussion a majority of the council voted for a compromise measure. It would raise Handy Ride fees from the present 75 cents per ride to $1.50. Monthly passes would nearly double in cost from the present $25 to $48. Regular bus rates would increase to $1.25 from the present $1 fee.

District 7 Council Member Clint Olivier was the only one to vote against the increases. He thought they were too high. Council Member Blong Xiong was absent. The rate hikes take effect on January 10th.

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