A while back, DART announced it was considering fare changes that will, assuming they are adopted, will go into effect on December 3.
The proposal would do several things. It would streamline the fare structure and introduce variable pricing for peak- and non-peak hours, but for most riders, it will increase prices -- by 25 percent for purchases of local passes (good for DART trains and local buses). Which is why DART expects the change to bring in an extra $5 million, despite an expected drop in ridership of .2 percent. (Without the fare change, DART thinks ridership would increase by one percent.)
To see how riders feel about the fare hike, DART hosted a series of 18 town hall meetings, plus one on Twitter. The in-person gatherings drew a whopping 153 attendees or, if you're keeping score, 8.5 persons per. Participation in the Twitter town hall was about the same.
Hard to blame anyone for not showing up. Showing up at a no doubt boring public hearing to provide input that will probably be ignored on a decision that has already been decided seems like pissing in the wind, only without the cool mist in your face.
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As it turns out, DART actually was listening, at least to those of you who aren't between the ages of 19 and 64. The agency now plans cut prices in half for seniors, high school students, and the disabled, according to a briefing that will be delivered to a DART committee later this afternoon.
From the briefing:
As a result of the comments from the community meetings, DART management made a change to the recommendation relating to reduced fares and high school students. Under the revised recommendation, Seniors and Disabled customers will be able to purchase a two-hour pass, a Day Pass, or a Monthly Pass at a 50% discount at any time. Children, ages 5 to 14, will be able to purchase a two-hour pass or a Day Pass at any time. High school students will be able to purchase a two-hour pass or a Day Pass at a 50% discount Monday through Friday.
The rest of us can fork over the cash.