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City moves on first consideration of transit fees increase

BY DI STAFF | MARCH 07, 2012 6:30 AM

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Passengers on city buses will probably see increased fares this summer.

The Iowa City City Council passed the first consideration of an ordinance amending public-transportation fees. 

Chris O'Brien, the city's director of transportation, said the department has moved from being supported by the general fund to an enterprise fund.

"We had to make some changes in the budget, we had to make some cuts, and we have proposed a change in the fare structure," he said. 

The Transit Department lost $1.1 million because of the change, but the elimination of several job positions and increasing transit fares, O'Brien said, would allow the department to make up for lost funds. Transportation officials would like to see user fees cover 30 to 35 percent of operation costs.
City Councilor Susan Mims said it's important to note that the last fare increase was in 1996.

"We haven't done anything in 16 years, and that's important," she said.

Mayor Matt Hayek agreed, noting the passing of the ordinance would lead to a more self-sustaining Transit Department.

The proposed changes would take effect July 1.

The councilors will vote on the second consideration of the ordinance at their next meeting, March 20.

— by Kristen East


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