While local bus fares have been unchanged for more than five years, a transit oversight agency was expected to consider a proposal that could lead to them increasing, a top official said.
The recommendation for a fare study was to be presented to the Imperial County Transportation Commission at its May 22 meeting by its executive director, Mark Baza. The meeting was held after this newspaper’s deadline.
"Prices have not been adjusted since (fiscal year) 2013-14 to compensate for rising operating costs," Baza said in an interview. "We'll be evaluating our IVT service (fixed route), IVT Ride (advanced reservation) and IVT Access (disabled) services."
He added some or all routes may require a measure of fare increase, but first the commission must complete an analysis of current operating costs.
The transit service must generate 10 percent of its operating costs from fare-box collection to assure continued support through the California Transportation Development Act that subsidizes the remaining costs through state and federal grants, Baza explained.
A request for proposals for a fare analysis was posted in March on the commission website, published in local newspapers and emailed to firms who might be interested. Two firms responded and AECOM was ranked as the most qualified.
"AECOM demonstrated a more in-depth familiarity with local operating conditions and a superior bilingual public outreach plan," said Baza. "The cost for this project, $150,000, was identified and approved in our budget for (fiscal year) 2018-19, so it is recommended the board approve the award to AECOM for a 2019 transit fare analysis."