The San Diego Metropolitan Transit System currently has a deficit in their budget for $10 million and is now, for the first time in 10 years, raising their fees in hopes of fixing that shortfall. Starting September 1st, costs of all fares from MTS will increase.
The cost of one-way bus trips will increase by 25 cents to $2.50. In addition, their standard day pass will cost a dollar more at $6 and the monthly pass for seniors will increase by 5 dollars to $23. MTS expects these increases to help boost their profit an additional $5 million a year.
Spokesman Rob Schupp from MTS commented on the change saying, “When you have a budget deficit, we only have two choice really… one is to either raise fares, or to reduce service. And all of the polling that we’ve done with our riders, they would much prefer a small increase in fares than for us to reduce service.”
Not all prices are changing however as the cost of one trolley ride and the standard monthly pass will remain the same. In fact, the cost of a monthly pass for juniors will decrease from $36 to $23. Schupp stated that by making these changes, the agency hopes to make it easier for riders to figure out what fare they need to buy.
This increase was suggested in December 2018 before receiving approval for the change in February 2019. For similar reasons to the San Diego Metropolitan Transit System, the North County Transit District will also be raising their fees for the COASTER, SPRINTER, and other North County transit services that they operate.
Colin Parent from the transit advocacy organization Circulate San Diego criticized this adjustment saying, “Not only is it unfair, but it’s also going to deter more people who might choose to ride transit, especially occasional riders… and those [people who already have access to a car] are the exact kind of people that are going to be deterred from riding transit with these barriers that add these extra costs when they need to make a transfer.”
MTS already require riders to pay two separate fees when transferring between bus routes if they do not have a pass for the day or month so this change will affect potential rider’s decisions when choosing whether or not they want to use transit.
Photo by Josh Esh