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New policy essential to keep bus service working in Butler

We learned in the Wednesday, May 15, edition of the Butler Eagle about a new policy from the Butler Transit Authority designed to ensure people pay the full bus fare.

The authority board voted Tuesday to implement a new rule that gives riders who don’t have the full fare three days to pay at the bus terminal. If they don’t pay, they won’t be allowed to ride for a week.

The board discussed the issue of fare dodging during a meeting in April. There was no policy in place, so drivers would often either pay the rest of the fare if a rider couldn’t or would just allow the person to keep riding.

Rebecca Black, solicitor for the authority, said the authority administration had been reluctant to make drivers confront riders who didn’t pay the full fare because of safety concerns. But, as she pointed out during Tuesday’s meeting, the drivers are often the only people who are in contact with the riders.

The coming fare increase makes a policy more important than ever. In April, the authority’s board voted to increase the price of a single ride from $1.25 to $1.50, starting in July. The increase is the first in more than a decade and comes in response to rising costs.

With a small transit system, the effect of unpaid or underpaid fares can stack up.

“It’s fundamental fairness too, because if they keep avoiding these fares, then we’re going to have to increase fares again,” Black said. “That will affect every other rider, who is going to have to pay those increased fares because a handful of riders refuse to pay the fare implemented.”

The transit authority offers a truly essential service for the community. Having good policies in place to keep the authority healthy is an important step and one we’re glad to see happen.

— JK

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