Bad news could be coming for students who commute to campus from a few miles away — CATA is expected to increase its bus fare by 25 cents.
The one-way standard bus fare is likely to increase from the current $1.50 to $1.75. That means a one-month OnePass would go from $59 to $69, while tokens would increase to $1.75 each, or $34 for a roll of 20.
There will not be an increase for senior citizen riders, although a raise occured in August to bring the fare from $2.50 to $3. This is also the rate for disabled riders.
The last increase to cash, token, and OnePass fares was about four years ago, which is why Eric Bernier, CATA’s Service Development Manager, believes an increase is necessary.
“The impetus is cost,” Bernier told the Centre Daily Times. “But rather than having to keep bumping up prices by a nickel a year, we wait three or four years.”
Another factor fueling CATA’s proposed increase is a roughly $300,000 per year loss in federal funding.
“There was, at the federal level, the natural gas fuel incentive rebate, where we were rebated 45 to 50 cents a gallon,” Bernier said. “That expired in calendar year 2013, which was a loss of about $300,000 a year. The anticipated revenue increase will actually barely replace that.”
Federal law requires there to be a public hearing whenever a rate increase is proposed. CATA will host a public hearing at 4 p.m. on February 24 in the State College Municipal Building. Community members are invited to engage with CATA representatives about the public transportation services.