Intercity Transit is looking at increasing bus fares by about 33 percent.
The proposed increase would take base fares from 75 cents to $1. An adult monthly pass would increase from $25 to $33.50, and an annual pass would change from $150 to $201.
Meg Kestler, marketing and communications manager for Intercity Transit, emphasized the increase is only in the discussion phase.
"There is no indication that there will be a fare increase," Kestler noted. "We'll know more after the citizen advisory committee and transit authority meetings."
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The advisory committee meets today and will present its findings to the Intercity Transit Authority on Wednesday.
The hourly cost of running a fixed route bus increased 13.4 percent between 2001 and 2005, according to Intercity Transit.
"The purpose of raising fares is to keep up with inflation and cost of living increases," Kestler said.
Agency policy dictates that fares be in multiples of 25 cents.
Intercity Transit's policy requires that fares be reviewed every three years. The transit decided on the current fares in May 2000 and implemented them in July 2001. The fares were reviewed again in November 2003, and the authority chose not to increase them.
If the transit authority decides to raise fares, the rate change would likely take place in mid-2007. Intercity Transit would want to give passengers plenty of notice so they know the change is taking place, Kestler said.
"I would be comfortable with (an increase)," said Bill Coomer, an Olympia resident who rides the bus almost every day. Coomer likes riding the bus and thinks public transportation is a good service, he said. Riding the bus would be still be cheaper than driving his car, even if the fares did go up, he noted.
Transit authority requested that the issue be reviewed by the advisory committee. Kestler said the authority is interested in what residents think about a fare increase.
If the authority decides to increase rates, a public comment period would take place before any increase is adopted.