Met Council: Comment now on proposal to raise metro-area public transit fares
The Metropolitan Council is seeking public input on a proposal to raise transit fares in the Twin Cities metropolitan area.
This would be the first fare increase in nearly a decade (last increase was in October 2008) and a necessary step to address the increasing costs to provide transit and transportation. When fares remain flat, the Council recovers a smaller percentage of the overall cost to provide transit service.
Transit officials are inviting feedback and testimony on two basic scenarios for regular route transit – increases of 25 cents or 50 cents.
Possible fare increases would affect all regional transit services, including those operated by Metro Transit, Metro Mobility, the Metropolitan Council (including Transit Link and suburban service), and suburban transit providers (Maple Grove Transit, Minnesota Valley Transit Authority, Plymouth MetroLink, and SouthWest Transit). Transit fares, under state law and regional policy, must be set on a regional basis and be consistent across providers.
In addition to rising costs, funds that support public transit have not been keeping pace with expectations, leading to a projected deficit in the regional transit budget. The proposed fare increases are estimated to fill approximately 20% of the projected $74 million deficit. Last month the Minnesota House of Representatives passed a bill that would further increase that deficit to $140 million. If signed into law, it would force more significant fare increases, in addition to reduced service and elimination for many bus routes.
“It’s a critical time for us to hear from customers and constituencies in the region as we weigh this decision,” said Metropolitan Council Chair Adam Duininck. “Attend a public meeting, fill out our survey, and let us know how a fare increase would affect you. Every experience is important for us as we balance a fare increase with impacts on our most transit-dependent and vulnerable customers.”
In addition to the public meetings and public hearings where people can comment, information will be available on buses and trains, and other physical locations. Staff will be available at busy transit stops and hubs throughout May and June, to assure riders have an opportunity to learn more, ask questions, and provide input.
Duininck also encouraged people to contact the Council with any questions they have or to suggest another setting for a discussion about fares during the public comment period.
Information about the public meetings and how to comment is at the bottom of this email and available at www.metrocouncil.org.
Proposals to increase public transit fares must be available for public comment and public hearing, under federal law. They must reflect the upper limit of an anticipated fare increase, meaning fares can be raised no higher than what is proposed for consideration. Cash fare proposals that will be under consideration are below. The Council is receiving public comment through late June and will make a final decision in July for implementation this fall.
In addition, cash fare proposals would affect how passes are priced. There are also a number of policy-related provisions under consideration by the Council, including only accepting cash and Go-To cards for payment on Metro Mobility and Transit Link rides.
Submit a public comment via email, mail and phone
The public comment period is from April 13 to June 26, 2017.
The Metropolitan Council will receive public comments via the following methods:
– Mail: Public Information, Metropolitan Council, 390 N. Robert. St., St. Paul, MN 55101
–Email: [email protected]
–Recorded line: 651-602-1500
Displays explaining the fare change, along with ways to comment will be available in the lobby of the Metro Transit F.T. Heywood Building at 560 N. 6th Avenue, Minneapolis, and the Metropolitan Council offices at 390 North Robert St., St. Paul, during regular business hours beginning May 10.
Transit representatives will also be present at busy transit stations and stops throughout the region during May and June. For updates and to learn more, visit metrocouncil.org or follow us on Facebook.
Public Hearings/Meetings for Proposed Changes to Regional Transit Fares
The Met Council will hold 4 public hearings and 8 public meetings to gather comments on the proposed fare changes.
Public hearings are opportunities for people to offer formal public testimony – delivered orally or in writing – on the proposed increase to regional transit fares. There will also be information about the proposed fare increase available, and an opportunity for attendees to ask questions about the proposal and its impact prior to the public hearing and after the close of the hearing.
Wednesday, May 17: 6:30 to 7:30 p.m.
Wednesday, May 31: noon to 1 p.m.
Wednesday, June 7: 6:30 to 7:30 p.m.
Wednesday, June 14: 6 p.m.
Public meetings will be like traditional open houses, with information about the proposed fare increase available, and an opportunity for attendees to ask questions about the proposal and its impact. People will be able to offer public comment, though there will be no formal opportunity to offer testimony at the public meetings.
Thursday, May 11: 5:30 to 6:30 p.m.
Tuesday, May 23: 6:30 to 7:30 p.m.
Tuesday, May 30: 5:30 to 6:30 p.m.
Wednesday, May 31: 5:30 to 6:30 p.m.
Thursday, June 1: 5:30 to 6:30 p.m.
Monday, June 5: 6:30 to 7:30 p.m.
Thursday, June 8: 6:30 to 7:30 p.m.
Tuesday, June 13: 6 to 7 p.m.