Since The Rapid was created in 2000, we have expanded service a number of times. We’ve also asked voters to increase the amount of property taxes they contribute to the system, and they’ve agreed to do so four times in 15 years. Fares have not been raised since 2008, and since that time, the cost of doing business has gone up. It’s now time to take a look at our fare structure to ensure that it too is keeping pace with the services we provide. The Rapid will be holding public hearings at Rapid Central Station in the second floor Community Conference Room at 7:00 p.m. on July 14th and 7:00 a.m. on July 15th to gather public comment on the proposed fare increase.
The Rapid has three primary funding sources: local property tax millage revenues, state operating reimbursement, and fares. Over the past several years, the percentage of revenues that the first two items cover in our budget has gone down. We have been looking at the expense side to do what we can to control costs, including changing our employee health plan and are moving toward the use of compressed natural gas (CNG) buses to save fuel costs over the long term, but there is still a gap between our revenues and expenses. We have been filling this gap with some capital funds to keep a balanced budget. This is a temporary solution at best, one that is not sustainable long-term. It also means those capital funds are not available for things like bus shelters, bike racks, or other facility needs.
In February of last year, the Rapid’s Board approved a Fare Policy which proactively established guidelines for evaluating fares. Using that policy, staff has proposed the following:
- Cash fares proposed to change from $1.50 to $1.75
- Reduced fare cash proposed to change from $0.75 to $0.85
- Adult one-ride proposed to change from $1.50 to $1.75
- Adult 10-ride proposed to change from $11.50 to $13.50
- Student 10-ride ticket proposed to change from $9.00 to $10.50
- Senior/persons with disabilities 10-ride proposed to change from $7.50 to $8.75
- One-day pass proposed to change from $3.00 to $3.75
- Seven-day pass proposed to change from $14.00 to $16.00
- Regular 31-day pass proposed to change from $40.00 to $47.00
- Reduced 31-day pass proposed to change from $26.00 to $30.00
- GO!Bus proposed to change from $3.00 to $3.50
- GO!Bus (non-disabled senior) proposed to change from $7.00 to $8.00
- PASS proposed to change from $3.00 to $3.50
If you can’t attend either one of the meetings, you can also submit written comments via email to firstname.lastname@example.org or to the attention of the Planning Department, The Rapid, 300 Ellsworth Avenue SW, Grand Rapids, MI 49503.
We understand that there may be concerns about this fare change, but we have to look at all options to continue to provide the level of services the community has come to rely on. We appreciate your feedback as the Board considers this step.