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New Year, New Bus Fares

The New Year will ring in a fare hike for county bus riders, the Regional Transit Authority or RTA announced.
Starting Dec. 31, RTA fares will rise from $1.50 to $1.75 when riding within a zone and go up 50¢ when crossing into different zones. For example, riding from Los Osos to Morro Bay will be $1.75 but from Morro Bay to San Luis Obispo, it would go from $2.50 to $3. Also, the “Regional Day Passes,” which allow riders to transfer across all fixed-route systems within the county on a single day, will increase from $5 to $5.50.
“A fare increase is necessary,” Geoff Straw, RTA executive director said, “for our system to offset the reduction of transit funding while planning for increased costs expected over the next few years. State Transit Assistance [STA] funding projections are anticipated to be down by 20%. While RTA staff has done a very good job of containing costs, certain expenses, [employee health insurance, and liability insurance] are increasing.” Taxes on fuel also went up in California this year.
This is the first RTA rate hike since 2011, when the intra-zone fares went from $1.25 to $1.50, and multi-ride passes were last increased in 2013.
The decision to increase fares was made Nov. 1 by the RTA board (essentially the Council of Governments’ board) following a lengthy and diverse public outreach with public workshops, presentations made to all city councils in the county, and a rider survey, according to a RTA news release. “Input from respondents was primarily accepting,” according to RTA, “since the increase is incrementally small and would likely prevent the need for a larger increase in the future.
See the website at: for fare schedules and route schedules for all the RTA buses and South County Area Transit or SCAT.

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