FOX47 NEWS - Metro Fares Go Up

Jeff Angileri
Apr 5, 2009, 6:40 PM

Effective Sunday, Madison Metro fares go up across the board.

It's probably a necessary evil to justify the means to get people around, said bus rider Lester Callihan.

Necessary, yes, according to Metro. Without the increase, some weekend and holiday routes would likely be cut.

We know this might not be popular with everybody, but we just want everyone to understand this is something we really needed to do to keep the type of service that's out there on the street that everyone needs to get around town, said Mick Rusch, Metro spokesperson.

Cash fares now cost $2 for adults, $1 for seniors, and $55 for a monthly pass. Some riders worry about how $2 bus fares will impact those already struggling to make ends meet in a recession.

I see a lot of people get on the bus with kids, groceries, packages -- I feel for them, said bus rider Don Engelberger.

To offset the increase, Metro is now offering a low income monthly pass for $27.50. And, visitors from Chicago are quick to point out, compared to the windy city, Madison is still a bargain.

In terms of comparability, the Chicago Transit Authority just went up from $2 to $2.25 for the bus and the rail, said Jim Martin.

Others are grateful to have public transportation at all.

Madison has pretty decent public transit for its size, said Callihan. It's something you have to have and finance.

For anyone who purchased monthly passes before today's rate hike, your pass is still valid for the time you bought it.

City leaders and residents debated this issue for months. Mayor Dave Cieslewicz originally included a fare increase of 50-cents in his 2009 city budget in November.

After listening to riders' concerns, however, the Transit and Parking Commission voted twice to shoot the full increase down, but the city council ended up overruling that decision in February.


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