Visalia bus fares set to increase

FRESNO, Calif.

More than ever before, Visalia's transit center is packed with people riding the bus. With a newly expanded bus terminal, ridership is at an all-time high and now city officials are planning to add more routes and expand others.

"We're actually behind on expanding service sin Visalia compared with the growth Visalia has experienced over the last several years and so we're just trying to keep up as much as we can," Visalia Transit Director Monty Cox said.

Cox says keeping up with that growth also means increasing fares. Right now most of the transit department's budget comes from grants and those funds require the city to earn 20% of its money from fares.

"This plan helps us know exactly where we should be in doing that and we're behind actually it says we're about a couple percent behind," Cox said.

The Visalia City Council just approved bus fare increases.

Fares will be taking a significant jump between August and next year.

A daily pass will jump from its current $2.50 to $3.25 in August and then $4 next year. Other rates, including the cost for a monthly pass will go from $30 and end up at $48 next year.

Seniors and disabled riders will be able to keep the $30 rate.

Some riders say the new rates are unreasonable.

"Yeah, it's going to make it tough for me I'll probably have to walk now cant ride the bus no more," Selena Luna of Visalia said.

Others say the fare hikes are still doable especially since Visalia is expanding service.

"With the bus fares going up I think it's fair because they're adding new routes because there are a lot of areas the buses don't go to so ," Seth Baker of Visalia said.

The new bus fares and expanded routes will go into effect starting August 10.

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