Boise & Garden City

ValleyRide hasn’t raised fares in 16 years. It could soon cost much more

A trip through Main Street Station

Valley Regional Transit buses started using Main Street Station in Downtown Boise for the first time Monday. Check out how the buses negotiate the tight and sometimes counterintuitive turns as they enter and exit the underground hub.
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Valley Regional Transit buses started using Main Street Station in Downtown Boise for the first time Monday. Check out how the buses negotiate the tight and sometimes counterintuitive turns as they enter and exit the underground hub.

ValleyRide passengers could see fares increase by 50% in October.

The bus provider is considering increasing fares for fixed-route services. Single-ride fares would increase from $1 to $1.50. Seniors, students, Medicare card holders and riders with disabilities who now pay 50 cents per ride would pay 75 cents. Children 5 and under ride for free, which will not change.

If approved by the Valley Regional Transit board on Aug. 5, it would mark the first fare hike in 16 years. Changes would take effect Oct. 1.

The transit provider is soliciting public comments on the proposed changes and has scheduled two open houses. The first will take place from 5 to 6:30 p.m. on Tuesday, July 23, in Conference Room B at the Nampa Public Library, 215 12th Ave. S. The second will be held during the same hours on Wednesday, July 24 at the Collister branch of the Boise Library, 4724 W. State St.

ValleyRide carried 1.1 million riders in Ada County from October 2017 to September 2018. It operates 40 full-sized buses for its fixed routes and 23 smaller buses for its on-demand services for riders who cannot use the regular system because of disabilities.

In 2017, it spent $12.9 million on operations, while collecting $937,458 in fares. Local and federal funding make up the bulk of the agency’s revenue.

Fare revenues are expected to rise by $125,000 to $150,000 if the increases are approved.

Even with the proposed increase, ValleyRide’s fares would remain lower than those charged by transit agencies in similarly sized towns. In Des Moines, Iowa, the full fare is $1.75, the same as in Eugene, Oregon. In Spokane, Washington, the fare is $2, and Salem, Oregon, charges $1.60.

“In reviewing existing fares, we found that Valley Regional Transit had the lowest fares among peer agencies,” a Valley Regional Transit news release says. “With this fare change proposal, our fares would remain among the lowest with our day pass being $0.50 less than our closest peer.”

ValleyRide charges $2 for an adult day pass. That fare would increase to $2.50. Reduced fare riders who now pay $1 for a day pass would pay $1.25.

Monthly passes would increase from $36 to $42, a 17% increase. Passes for reduced fare riders would increase from $18 to $21, also a 17% jump.

Annual passes would go from $266 to $282, to $23.50 monthly. Three- and six-month passes would no longer be offered.

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