Lower RVTD bus fares boost ridership

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Full fare monthly pass sales increased 26 percent and full fare 20-ride punch card sales almost doubled, following a 20 percent reduction in monthly bus pass and punch card prices by the Rogue Valley Transportation District (RVTD).

“The boost in pass sales across the board is a good indicator of the increased ridership yet to come,” said RVTD Senior Planner Paige Townsend. “Plus, instead of losing revenue at first, like we expected, we actually had a net increase.”

RVTD reduced its monthly bus pass and punch card prices on February 1. A full-fare monthly bus pass decreased from $70 to $56, saving passengers $168 annually. RVTD provides public transportation to the people of the Rogue Valley, and currently serves Medford, Phoenix, Talent, Ashland, Jacksonville, Central Point and White City.

“With the economy still in recovery and many people looking for ways to save money we felt it was a good time to initiate a price reduction,” said Townsend. “This is something we have thought about doing for awhile.”

RVTD hopes that making the cost of monthly bus passes more affordable will help boost ridership. A monthly bus pass can be used for unlimited trips during a given month. With a $2 base fare, a monthly pass pays for itself once a person has taken 14 round trips per month.

“Passengers are paying their way as they go,” said Townsend. “For the average person today, having the correct amount of fare on hand each time you want to use transit can be difficult. We want to make transit easy to use and easy on our drivers to administer.”

The cost of a 20-ride punch card dropped to $32.

“The 20-ride punch card is a good option for the casual rider because although it’s limited to 20 rides, it doesn’t expire,” says Townsend.

RVTD also introduced a new reduced fare 20-ride punch card for $16 in February. Passengers who are aged 62 and over or who are under 18 qualify for reduced fare. The reduced fare monthly bus pass was cut from $35 to $28. RVTD has already sold more than 300 new reduced fare 20-ride punch cards.

Sales of monthly bus passes have been low for several years making up only a small portion of RVTD’s total fare revenue. Total FY 2009-2010 revenue from fares was nearly $1,063,000 while pass sales were only $248,445, approximately 23 percent of RVTD’s total ‘fare box return.’ This equates to more than three-quarters of RVTD’s fare coming from cash and tokens paying for each trip a person takes by bus.

For more information or to purchase a pass, please visit Front Street Station in downtown Medford at 200 S. Front St. or call 541-779-2877.

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