Fare Changes

Valley Regional Transit (VRT) has been working with its Board and advisory committees to consider increasing fares for fixed-route services. This work has been guided by the following three principles:

1. Fares should be as simple as possible

  • VRT currently has many fare types. With day, monthly, three-month, six-month and annual passes, VRT offers more fare types than its peers. 

2. Fares should cover the costs of service consumed as much as possible

  • What does it cost to provide each seat? The average fare collected for each boarding should be as close to the cost of providing the seat or space used by the passenger as possible.
    For example, if it costs $100 to provide an hour of bus service and if during that hour a bus with 50 seats does two trips, then each seat would cost approximately $1.00 to provide.  See the diagram below:

 

3. Fares are part of a sustainable transit system

  • Fares cover a small portion of the operating costs. Currently fares only cover approximately eight percent of the total operating costs for fixed route transit at VRT. The percentage of operating costs covered by fare revenue is called fare box recovery.  Increasing fares is one way to increase the average fare and improve our fare box recovery.  The other two factors include the number of people getting on the bus each hour (also known as productivity) and the overall operating costs.  VRT is working on improving both the service productivity and controlling growth in our operating costs.  See the diagram below:

  • It has been 16 years since VRT increased its base fare in Ada County. Over time, inflation reduces the buying power of money.  Based on national averages, the inflation-adjusted value of the $1.00 adult single use fare is estimated to be $1.36.
    • 2003 Boise fares increase to $1.00 weekday and weekend (from 50 cents).
    • 2005 Nampa and Caldwell increase fares from $0.75 to $1.00.The adult single ride fare for local service has been $1.00 when the fare for Nampa and Caldwell local service increased from $0.70.
    • 2008 increased monthly fares for monthly passes


VRT staff has developed an initial concept of fare changes

  • 50 percent increase in the base fare mitigated by an increase in the discounts on multi-use passes. 
  • Discontinue three- and six-month passes
  • Resulting fare structure:

Single Use Adult Base Fare 1, 2

 

Current

Proposed

Increase
amount

Percent
change

Local

$1.00

$1.50

$0.50

50%

Universal

$3.00

$4.50

$1.50

50%

1 Senior, student and people with disability discounts of 50% will still apply

2 Access fares will still be set at 200% the base fare

 

Multi Use Passes 3

 

Current
fare

Break-even point
# of round trips

Proposed
fare

Break-even point or
# of round trips

Day Pass

 

 

 

 

Local

$2.00

1 round trip

$2.50

<1 round trip

Universal

$6.00

1 round trip

$7.50

<1 round trip

31 Day Pass

 

 

 

 

Local

$36.00

18 round trips OR
3 1/2 weeks of bus commuting

$43.50

15 round trips OR
three weeks of bus commuting

Universal

$70

12 round trips OR
2 1/2 weeks of bus commuting

$84.00

9 round trips OR
2 weeks of bus commuting

Annual Pass

 

 

 

 

Local

$266

133 round trips OR
six months of bus commuting

$293

98 round trips OR five
months of bus commuting

Universal

$516

86 round trips OR
4 1/2 months of bus commuting

$568

63 round trips OR three
months of bus commuting

3 Senior, student and people with disability discounts of 50% will still apply to day passes and 31 day passes

 

Fare Comparison to Peer Agencies

In reviewing existing fares, we found that VRT had the lowest fares among peer agencies.  With this fare change proposal, our fares would remain among the lowest with our day pass being $0.50 less than our closest peer.

Peer City Fare Comparison

City

Full Fare

Reduced
Fare

Day
Pass

ADA
Paratransit

Des Moines, IA

$1.75

$0.75

$4.00

$3.50

Eugene, OR

$1.75

$0.85

$3.50

$3.50

Madison, WI

$2.00

$1.00

$5.00

$3.25

Reno, NV

$2.00

$1.00

$3.00

$3.00

Salem, OR

$1.60

$0.80

$3.25

$3.20

Spokane, WA

$2.00

$1.00

$4.00

$2.00

Tucson, AZ

$1.75

$0.75

$4.00

$3.20

Valley Regional Transit - Current

$1.00

$0.50

$2.00

$2.00

Valley Regional Transit - Proposed

$1.50

$0.75

$2.50

$3.00

 

Fare Proposal Detailed Summary:

The table below shows the current range of prices for local and universal fare products and the proposed change.

Thank you to all who provided comment

Our public comment period ended on June 16

VRT has developed a schedule for the potential fare changes

  • May 6: VRT Executive Board considers draft fare change proposal
  • May/June: Public outreach/open houses
  • July: VRT Executive Board considers final fare change proposal
  • July: Public comment/open houses on final proposal
  • August 5: VRT Board considers final fare change proposal
  • October 1: New fare changes take effect

 

 

Draft Fare Structure Summary

Type

Current

% Change

Adult Rate

Total 
Increase

Discounted Rate

Total 
Increase

Local

Universal

Local

Universal

Single Use

$1-$3

50%

$1.50

$4.50

$0.50-$1.50

$0.75

$2.25

$0.25-$0.75

ACCESS Fare

$2

50%

$3.00

N/A

$1.00

N/A

N/A

$1.00

Day Pass

$2-$6

25%

$2.50

$7.50

$0.50-$1.50

$1.25

$3.75

$0.25-$0.75

31 Day Pass

$36-$70

20%

$43.50

$84.00

$7.50-$14.00

$21.75

$42.00

$3.75-$7.00

Annual Pass

$266-$516

10%

$293

$568

$27-52

N/A

N/A

N/A

 

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