Green Mountain Transit planning to bring back fares
BURLINGTON, Vt. (WCAX) - Green Mountain Transit is planning to charge bus fares once again starting in July after a lengthy pandemic pause. While the decision is not final, the change is factored into their proposed 2024 budget.
“Historically, we’ve collected about $2.3 million pre-pandemic in fare revenue,” said Jon Moore, GMT’s interim general manager. “We’ve been lucky through some COVID relief funds, then last year through the legislative transportation bill to have funding available to replace fare revenues.”
Moore says the fares were dropped at the height of the pandemic to limit person-to-person interactions. But with no replacement for those sources on the horizon, GMT is looking to charge fares again. They’ll be the same as pre-pandemic prices, but those who have been relying on the free transportation say they’ll definitely be using it less.
“I feel like that will be difficult for some people because some people can’t really afford it,” said Burlington resident and frequent bus traveler Bryan Cushing. “I feel like I didn’t use it then, but when they stopped charging I started using it more.”
“Grants only going to go so long, but I feel like it should be free because it’s public transportation,” said Loralie Fuller, Burlington resident and bus rider. “$1.75 or $2.00, whatever it is, is crazy. But I will say it’s been really really helpful.”
Moore says if they don’t charge fares there would likely be a reduction of service and no way to save for future expansions. “Members of the public have said if there’s a choice between keeping service in place, they’d rather pay a fare and maintain service,” he said.
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