Ride the Yakima bus? Prices are going up

Ride the Yakima bus? Prices are going up
YAKIMA, Wash. – Bus riders had a chance to voice their opinion at Thursday night’s public Transit meeting regarding the proposed bus fare increases.

One by one, neighbors stepped up to the podium to voice their opinion. Most, obviously, aren't too happy.

"I'm on disability as well and sometimes I barely have ten dollars left at the end of the month. And so this would be seven dollars out of my ten,” Wendy Cawthorn said.

The proposed increase for an adult monthly pass will jump from $17 to $25; youth passes from $12 to $18. It’s the first raise in monthly passes since 1980.

Other one way fares will range between a 15 cent and 50 cent increase, the first raise in single passes in four years.

Yakima Transit is also considering cutting off two hours of daily bus service on routes 2, 5, 6, 7 and 9. Routes that are primarily in the northwest corner of town.

“Now with the schedule set the way it is, I have to carry a bus book around,” Lynne Kittelson said.

Transit said the cuts come because many of their grants are running out and sales tax revenue just isn't cutting it.

Many who spoke Thursday night suggested the increase should have been gradual.

"It should have been all along like 50 cents here, 50 cents there. Not seven dollars at one time,” Wendy said.

KIMA asked Yakima Transit Director, Ken Mehin, what he thought about gradual increases.

"Well, we kept it down for an extra four years that we didn't charge anybody,” Mehin said. “Now we have to play some catch up."

Transit says if they can't increase rates they'll have to make cuts. The Van Pool system would be the first to go, something Transit says they don't want to do.

"We either have to raise or cut back service even more. We're trying to make it the least painful to everybody around,” Mehin said.
The rate increase is coming. Just how painful it will be is to be determined.

All of the public opinions expressed will be presented to city council and the Federal Transit Commission.

The council will vote on the final rate increases in February.