Fare Changes Page

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:

  • VRT fares are the lowest among peers. The table below shows a comparison with peer agencies and their fares:

 Peer City Fare Comparison

City

 

Full
Fare

Reduced      Fare

Day
Pass

ADA
Para-
transit

Average
Fare

VRT

 

$1.00

$0.50

$2.00

$2.00

0.58

Des Moines IA

 

$1.75

$0.75

$4.00

$3.50

0.98

Eugene OR

 

$1.75

$0.85

$3.50

$3.50

0.70

Madison WI

 

$2.00

$1.00

$5.00

$3.25

0.96

Reno NV

 

$2.00

$1.00

$3.00

$3.00

0.76

Salem OR

 

$1.60

$0.80

$3.25

$3.20

0.77

Spokane WA

 

$2.00

$1.00

$4.00

$2.00

0.73

Tucson AZ

 

$1.75

$0.75

$4.00

$3.20

0.59

 

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 
    • 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 has developed a schedule of the potential changes

  • Fare changes could be implemented as early as October 1, 2019
    • May 6: VRT Executive Board considers draft fare change proposal
    • May 13-24: Public outreach/open houses
    • June 3: VRT Executive Board considers final fare change proposal
    • June 18-July 19: public comment/open houses on final proposal
    • August 5: VRT Full board considers final fare change proposal
    • October 1: New fare changes take effect

VRT staff has developed an initial concept of fare changes

  • Draft changes would increase fare revenue, simplify the fare structure and incentivize longer term passes
    • Increase rates to achieve an average fare of near $1.00
    • Increase incentives for longer term passes because they encourage more ridership
    • Discontinue three- and six-month passes because they are used infrequently
    • Resulting fare structure:

     

 

Bus Fare Type

             Adult Rate

                               Discounted Rate

Percent
Change

New Fare

Total
Increase

 

Local

Universal

Total
Increase

Single Use

50%

$1.50

$0.50/$1.50

 

$0.75

$2.25

$0.25/$0.75

Day Pass

25%

$2.50

$0.50/$1.50

 

$1.25

$3.75

$0.25/$0.75

Monthly Pass

20%

$43.50

$7.50/$14.00

 

$21.75

$42.00

$3.75/$7.00

Annual Pass

0%

$266

$0

 

N/A

N/A

N/A

 

VRT has estimated ridership and revenue impacts

  • Increased fares typically discourage transit use less than the change in fare rate, meaning we expect this change will have a negative impact on ridership, but will be a net positive impact on fare revenue.
  • We expect these changes may decrease our ridership by 8-12 percent but increase our fare revenues by 15-25 percent.

ACCESS fares and contract rates are also being reviewed

  • Typically ACCESS rates are twice the price of the adult rates. VRT is still exploring the impact of those changes.
  • Employer and other contract rates are also being evaluated.

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We want to hear from you

Public comment will be an essential component in developing a new fare policy. There are many options available to you to provide comment:

» Take the online survey (a link will be posted ASAP).

» Send comments using the comment form (or send comments directly to info@valleyregionaltransit.org)

» Attend one of our scheduled open houses (Dates, times and locations TBD)

Starting this spring, VRT will make it easier to get valid fare media by rolling out mobile ticketing.
Mobile ticketing will make it possible for anybody with a smart phone to be able to purchase a single use, day pass or monthly pass on their phone from where ever they are, whether or not they have cash!