Yesterday’s City Council meeting included a presentation from the “City of Fresno Transit Rates and Service Committee” which issued a report outlining short, medium and long term goals for FAX (Fresno Area Express). The committee was formed in 2010 during steep city budget shortfalls, and recommended a fare hike of 25 cents, which was put into effect January 2011, resulting in fares of $1.25. That would be to correct the “problem” that was the political decision of keeping mass transit affordable, and on par with peer systems.
One of their first recommendations is a series of fare hikes, including one this year of an additional 25 cents, and raising the base fare to $2.00 by 2017. That would mean a complete doubling of the fare in just six years, and this is in spite of the fact that the last service expansion was over a decade ago. Indeed, over the past decade, as the city population has ballooned and unemployment has spiked (currently still over 14% in Fresno), four routes were actually eliminated and no new service has been introduced. Probably not the best way to connect people with jobs.