Here we go again. According to a Pierce Transit press release, “The Pierce County Transit Board came to consensus that securing funding to restore access to essential services for seniors, the disabled and people who rely on Pierce Transit requires a November 2012 ballot measure asking for 0.3 percent.”
Based on the 2012 budget, this would give the agency an additional $32,996,120 in sales tax revenue. It would leave you to believe that the only people who use Pierce Transit are seniors and the disabled.
The budgeted operating revenue for 2012 is $131,183,221 and budgeted operating expenditures are $115,609,650, leaving a positive balance of $15,573,571.
Pierce Transit need more money? Fares are projected to be 9 percent of total revenues. A lot of people using Pierce Transit can pay more for this service. Paying 75 cents for a shuttle service that costs more than $35 a trip is ridiculous. There are people meeting the criteria for shuttle service who can afford to pay a higher fare. Just because someone is over 65 does not mean that they need a reduced fare.
We put tolls on bridges and highways to ask users to help cover costs. We don’t give them a break because they are over 65 or it causes them a financial hardship. Based on the 2012 budgeted ridership of 15,992,124, the average fare is 74 cents.
If taxpayers are going to be asked for a 50 percent increase in funding, then I think that the riders should see a significant increase in fares. They should pay for the service they use.