SCAT bus fares to increase in Brevard

Published On: May 13 2014 12:17:48 PM EDT
Updated On: May 13 2014 12:23:21 PM EDT
VIERA, Fla. -

The Brevard County Commission on Tuesday unanimously approved a package of fare increases affecting riders of Space Coast Area Transit buses.

Under the plan, the full fare would increase by 25 cents to $1.50. The reduced fare for senior citizens, disabled, students and veterans would rise 15 cents to 75 cents. The prices of multi-ride and 30-day passes also would increase. The increases would take effect July 1, Local 6 News partner Florida Today reported.

Additionally, SCAT proposes eliminating free transfers when riders switch from one bus to another in conjunction with the implementation of electronic fare boxes on its buses by the spring of 2015. Under the plan, riders wishing to transfer from one bus to another would need to purchase a $3 all-day pass.

Two members of the public who regularly use the bus addressed the county commission prior to the vote. They urged Space Coast Area Transit to increase service, particularly on weekends.

Brevard County Transit Service Director James Liesenfelt said the proposed fare increases will raise about $192,000 a year for SCAT.

SCAT collected about $1.03 million in fares during its last budget year.

Fares currently cover about 17 percent of the bus service's operating expenses, with federal and state grants and the county budget covering most of the balance.

Liesenfelt said the fare increase will allow SCAT to fully implement planned increases in service this summer on six routes.

SCAT held five public meetings to solicit comments from riders on the fare increase, as well as asking for comments on its website. Of the 162 fare-related comments it received, Liesenfelt said, about 60 percent were positive, 15 percent were neutral and 25 percent were negative.

Liesenfelt said, even with the fare increase, the basic SCAT fare of $1.50 a trip will be lower than or at the same level as those in 25 of the 28 Florida bus systems surveyed.

He said SCAT's only previous fare increase in the past 25 years occurred in 2006.

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