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CATA announces fare increase at public meeting

by on July 25, 2013 11:51 AM

STATE COLLEGE — At its biannual public meeting Tuesday, CATARIDE announced its senior fare rate will increase to $3 effective Aug. 1, an announcement that evoked concern from some in attendance.

Up from $2.50, the increase is part of a two-step process with the state in which the rate rose 50 cents last year and 50 cents this year, said CATARIDE Director of Operations Sherry Snyder.

“Folks were aware that it was coming a year ahead,” Snyder said.

Some participants at the July 23 meeting thought the increase has been too rapid, while others were worried about future bumps in fare, explaining that many of CATA’s riders are seniors.

Snyder said as of now, CATA has “every intention” of keeping rates where they are, and there is no immediate need for fare increase, at least within the next year.

Fare rates are based on the cost to operate the system, Snyder said, and while she “empathizes and sympathizes, a lot of it is determined by what’s going on in the market,” such as fuel prices.

Senior citizens can ride the fixed route for free, Snyder said. Some in the meeting proposed extending or adding options the fixed route, to which Snyder responded more ridership would be needed to further develop the service.

Another rate increase, also announced Tuesday, includes the general public fare, which will rise from $16.65 to $20, said Dina Ruggiero, paratransit coordinator at CATA. The disabled citizens’ fare rate, however, will remain the same at $3, she said.

Senior fares were last raised in July of 2012, Ruggiero said, but before that it had been “several years.”

Also at the meeting, Andy Burke, general manager at Ride Right LLC in State College, provided information on cancellations and no-shows, and tips on scheduling. Burke said rides need to be scheduled 14 days in advance, and no same-day reservations are accepted.

Those who wish to cancel rides must provide at least 45 minutes advance notice, and riders should be aware of a 15-minute window for bus pickup, he said.

According to its website, Ride Right provides paratransit, fixed route, shuttle and ADA services to the communities it serves.

Other topics discussed at the meeting, which was held at CATA’s office on West Whitehall Road in State College, included policies on CATARIDE’s service animal transport and its respirator/portable oxygen/life support equipment, as well as the new Personal Care Attendant identification card, which CATA riders who travel with a PCA are required to carry.

For more information about Centre Area Transportation Authority, or for bus schedules and rates, visit www.catabus.com.



Staff Writer at The Centre County Gazette
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