City considers break on Transit fares

GLOVERSVILLE – The Common Council is considering lowering the rate for transit fares for the city route to $1 for the remainder of the year in an effort to increase ridership and future federal funding.

The city is looking at setting the Transit System’s fares for city runs at $1. According to the Transit System website, the current regular fare in the city is $2.25. The current fare for seniors, the disabled and youths is $2.

Mobility Manager William Walrath suggested the idea at the recent council meeting. He said lowering the rate would help provide the service to those who can’t currently afford it, help the riders who already use the service and increase the federal funding the Transit System receives in the future.

Walrath said the fares for the Transit System’s other routes – such as the one to Fulton-Montgomery Community College – would not change.

Walrath said the Transit System was profitable last year, which resulted in it receiving no additional 5311 federal operating assistance. Walrath said that operating assistance is available to cover up to 50 percent of the deficit of a transit department; because the department was profitable last year, it didn’t receive any of that assistance.

During the meeting, 4th Ward Councilwoman Ellen Anadio said she would like Walrath to compile the transit’s financial information so the council can make a decision going forward.

Walrath said he would have that information for the council at the next meeting.

“If we’re in the black we lose 5311 funding, which is all right, and it means we are doing really well,” Walrath said. “But rather than lose the funding, I’d rather give back to the riders, but the council still wants more information.”

Commissioner of Finance Bruce Van Genderen estimated last year the Transit System generated $60,000 in revenues over appropriations.

Van Genderen said the Transit System had more revenue than expenditures last year because the state allowed the city to charge more for medical transportation, the system received an extension of Jobs-Access and Reverse Commute grant funding, and a prior increase in fares helped bring in more money.

“Between those three items, we ended up with more taken in on a full accrual basis than what we laid out,” Van Genderen said. “Had it not been for [JARC] we would not have revenue over expenses.”

The JARC grant is a Federal Transit Administration program designed to pay for people to get to work.

Walrath previously said the JARC grant would provide $200,000 for operating assistance and $95,048 to pay for the Mobility Manager position for the third and fourth quarters of 2013 and all of 2014.

Officials said they are considering lowering the fee to ride the city transit to $1 to see how it works for the remainder of the year. At the end of the year, they would assess how the charge may be set in the future.

“I just want to make sure we don’t get into a long-term commitment with it,” King said. “For the rest of this year, we would like to reduce it to $1, and then next year if we have to readjust we can do that. None of these prices will be set in stone.”

For more details, call GTS at 773-4528 or go to www.ridegts.com.