Battle Creek debates proposed bus fare increase

Kalamazoo and Battle Creek

BATTLE CREEK, Mich. (WOOD) — Battle Creek is considering a proposal to raise bus fares by 40%.

The price of a ticket has not increased since 2003. Under the plan, a trip would increase from $1.25 to $1.75. The reduced rate would go up from 60 cents to 85 cents per trip.

Mallory Avis, the director of public transit, says the change is needed to keep up with rising costs.

“We looked at service cut scenarios, we looked at other hours of service, things like that, and really determined the least negative impact was a fare increase,” Avis said.

She says service has been expanded since the last increase and expenses are not decreasing.

“Wages have obviously gone up since then and then the cost of fuel and just overall operating expenses,” Avis said.

Battle Creek resident Bonnie Hiller does not own a car and takes the bus every day.

“I’m just worried about the people that can’t afford it,” Hiller said.

She says the money is needed but thinks it could be especially difficult for some customers who rely on the service.

“I’m kind of mixed on it,” Hiller said. “There’s people on budgets that can’t afford it and then there’s other people that would appreciate better service.”

John Bratten uses the service at least two times a week and says he can live with an increase.

“I’m on a fixed income, so it’s a significant increase to me, but I’m grateful for the transit system here, so I don’t mind paying that,” Bratten said.

The Battle Creek City Commission will get feedback from the public at the 7 p.m. meeting on March 17.

If approved, bus fares would increase starting July 1. For more information on the proposal, and to find out how you can submit your comments, visit the City of Battle Creek’s website.

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