Fare Changes

Valley Regional Transit (VRT) has been working with its Board and advisory committees to consider increasing fares for fixed-route services. This work has been guided by the following three principles:

1. Fares should be as simple as possible

  • VRT currently has many fare types. With day, monthly, three-month, six-month and annual passes, VRT offers more fare types than its peers. 

2. Fares should cover the costs of service consumed as much as possible

  • What does it cost to provide each seat? The average fare collected for each boarding should be as close to the cost of providing the seat or space used by the passenger as possible.
    For example, if it costs $100 to provide an hour of bus service and if during that hour a bus with 50 seats does two trips, then each seat would cost approximately $1.00 to provide.  See the diagram below:

 

3. Fares are part of a sustainable transit system

  • Fares cover a small portion of the operating costs. Currently fares only cover approximately eight percent of the total operating costs for fixed route transit at VRT. The percentage of operating costs covered by fare revenue is called fare box recovery.  Increasing fares is one way to increase the average fare and improve our fare box recovery.  The other two factors include the number of people getting on the bus each hour (also known as productivity) and the overall operating costs.  VRT is working on improving both the service productivity and controlling growth in our operating costs.  See the diagram below:

  • It has been 16 years since VRT increased its base fare in Ada County. Over time, inflation reduces the buying power of money.  Based on national averages, the inflation-adjusted value of the $1.00 adult single use fare is estimated to be $1.36.
    • 2003 Boise fares increase to $1.00 weekday and weekend (from 50 cents).
    • 2005 Nampa and Caldwell increase fares from $0.75 to $1.00.The adult single ride fare for local service has been $1.00 when the fare for Nampa and Caldwell local service increased from $0.70.
    • 2008 increased monthly fares for monthly passes


VRT staff has developed a final fare change proposal

Based on the public input staff has revised and expanded the initial concept into a final proposal. This proposal would:

  • Increase the base fare by 50 percent
  • Maintain current senior, student and persons with disabilities discounts (50 percent of base fares) 
  • Increase the discounts on multi-use passes
  • Decrease the difference between local and universal discounts for 31-day and annual passes
  • Increase the value of the $10 and $20 stored value cards
  • Discontinue three- and six-month passes
  • Discontinue employer monthly passes
  • Increase fare revenue by an estimated $125,000 to $150,000 a year

Single Use Adult Base Fare 1, 2

 

Current

Proposed

Increase
amount

Percent
change

Local

$1.00

$1.50

$0.50

50%

Universal

$3.00

$4.50

$1.50

50%

1 Senior, student and people with disability discounts of 50% will still apply

2 Access fares will still be set at 200% the base fare


Multi-use passes are a convenient way to save money on recurring transit trips. As with other "frequent flyer discounts" or "season passes," these passes are intended to encourage more transit use by providing deeper discounts the more you ride. Similar to Bogus Basin season passes, some season pass holders will not realize the full benefit of the season pass, while others will. To set the break-even point for the multi-use passes, VRT used current pass use and revenue data. These break-even points were set to move the average fare per boarding toward the target of $1 per boarding. 

Multi Use Passes 3

 

Current
fare

Break-even point
# of round trips

Proposed
fare

Break-even point or
# of round trips

Day Pass

 

 

 

 

Local

$2.00

Two trips

$2.50

Less than two trips

Universal

$6.00

Two trips

$7.50

Less than two trips

31 Day Pass

 

 

 

 

Local

$36.00

36 trips OR
3.5 weeks of bus commuting

$42.00

28 trips or OR
2.8 weeks of commuting

Universal

$70.00

24 trips trips OR
2.5 weeks of bus commuting

$90.00

20 trips trips OR
2 weeks of bus commuting

Annual Pass

 

 

 

 

Local

$266.00

266 trips OR
6.3 months of bus commuting

$282.00

188 trips OR 4.4 
months of bus commuting

Universal

$516.00

172 trips OR
4.3 months of bus commuting

$568.00

132 trips OR 3.1
months of bus commuting

3 Senior, student and people with disability discounts of 50% will still apply to day passes and 31 day passes

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The final proposal updates fares for all the different fare types. It increases the value on the stored value cards because the rider feedback showed a lot of interest in the stored value cards. This change will also reduce the likelihood that the fare increases will result in leftover money on a stored value card. It also discontinues the monthly employer pass in favor of negotiated employer contracts. It maintains the nonprofit discounts because they help ensure that bus passes are distributed to those that need the passes the most.

Pass Type 1

Current

Proposed

Increase Amount

Percent Change

Single Ride

 

 

 

 

 

Adult Local

$1.00

$1.50

$0.50

50%

Adult Universal

$3.00

$4.50

$1.50

50%

Reduced Local

$0.50

$0.75

$0.25

50%

Reduced Universal

$1.50

$2.25

$0.75

50%

Access/Paratransit

$2.00

$3.00

$1.00

50%

Day Pass

 

 

 

 

 

Adult Local

$2.00

$2.50

$0.50

25%

Adult Universal

$6.00

$7.50

$1.50

25%

Reduced Local

$1.00

$1.25

$0.25

25%

Reduced Universal

$3.00

$3.75

$0.75

25%

31 Day Pass

 

 

 

 

 

Adult Local

$36.00

$42.00

$6.00

17%

Adult Universal

$70.00

$90.00

$20.00

29%

Reduced Local

$18.00

$21.00

$3.00

17%

Reduced Universal

$35.00

$45.00

$10.00

29%

Annual Pass

 

 

 

 

 

Adult Local

$266.00

$282.00

$16

6%

Adult Universal

$516.00

$594.00

$78

15%

Stored Value $122

$12 for $10

$13.50 for $10

$1.50 in value

13%

Stored Value $242

$24 for $20

$27 for $20

$3.00 in value

13%

3 Month

Discontinued

6 Month

Discontinued

Day Pass

 

 

 

 

 

Nonprofit Local

$1.50

$1.90

$0.40

27%

Nonprofit Universal

$4.50

$5.60

$1.10

24%

31 Day Pass

 

 

 

 

 

Nonprofit Local

$27

$31.50

$4.50

17%

Nonprofit Universal

$52

$68.00

$16.00

31%

Employer Local

Discontinued

Employer Universal

Discontinued

Employer Annual

Negotiated

Negotiated

N/A

~15%

Nonprofit bulk $5K discount

30% off

30% off

None

None

Nonprofit bulk $10K discount

50% off

50% off

None

None

Nonprofit & Employer 3 Month

Discontinued

Nonprofit 6 Month

Discontinued

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Fare Comparison to Peer Agencies

In reviewing existing fares, we found that VRT had the lowest fares among peer agencies.  With this fare change proposal, our fares would remain among the lowest with our day pass being $0.50 less than our closest peer.

Peer City Fare Comparison

City

Full Fare

Reduced
Fare

Day
Pass

ADA
Paratransit

Des Moines, IA

$1.75

$0.75

$4.00

$3.50

Eugene, OR

$1.75

$0.85

$3.50

$3.50

Madison, WI

$2.00

$1.00

$5.00

$3.25

Reno, NV

$2.00

$1.00

$3.00

$3.00

Salem, OR

$1.60

$0.80

$3.25

$3.20

Spokane, WA

$2.00

$1.00

$4.00

$2.00

Tucson, AZ

$1.75

$0.75

$4.00

$3.20

Valley Regional Transit - Current

$1.00

$0.50

$2.00

$2.00

Valley Regional Transit - Proposed

$1.50

$0.75

$2.50

$3.00

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Another chance to provide comment on the fare proposal

The public comment period for the first draft of the fare change proposal ended on June 16. Thank you to all who provided input.

The draft version of the proposal has been updated and we again are seeking public comment. There are several ways to do so:

» Attend one of two open houses/public hearings:

Tuesday, July 23, Nampa Public Library, Conference Room B. The open house is from 5-6:30 p.m. and the public hearing begins at 6:30 p.m.
• Wednesday, July 24, Collister branch of the Boise Public Library system, Sycamore Community Room. The open house is from 5-6:30 p.m. and the public hearing begins at 6:30 p.m.

» Send your comments to: info@valleyregionaltransit.org

» Take the time to fill out an online comment form.

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If you are interested in what we have heard to date from the public, read the public comment report.

To learn more about how VRT amended the fare proposal based on public comment, you can read the Comment Response Matrix.

VRT has developed a Frequently Asked Questions sheet.

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VRT has developed a schedule for the potential fare changes

  • May 6: VRT Executive Board considers draft fare change proposal
  • May/June: Public outreach/open houses
  • July 8: VRT Executive Board approves final fare change proposal
  • July 23-24: Public comment/open houses on final proposal
  • August 5: VRT Board considers final fare change proposal
  • October 1: New fare changes take effect