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Bus rates aren’t going up as much as expected

Due to an unexpected bump in sales tax revenue, the Regional Transportation Commission announced Thursday that proposed bus rate increases won’t be nearly as severe as first expected.

The agency assembled a collection of passengers and financial experts to discuss the proposed fare increases based on a $9 million budget gap. It held public hearings over the last several months.

Over the last year, the gap has shrunk to $8.3 million. The commission also success­fully sought federal assistance to help subsidize its paratransit service, replacing some of the funding eliminated by the state during its budget cuts.

The end result is fewer cuts, especially for residents who use the fixed-route and paratransit systems. Most of the rate changes will go into effect Sept. 30.

A roundup of the changes:

■ The two-hour pass on the Strip will rise from $5 to $6. The residential $3 passes will be honored on all routes that service the Strip.

■ Reduced residential fares for passengers between 6 and 17 years old, seniors 60 and older and disabled riders with Medicaid cards. All will receive at least a 50 percent discount. The Americans with Disabilities Act requires a 50 percent discount on single-ride tickets, but the transportation commission offered discounts on all passes. So the discounted 30-day pass will increase from $30 to $32.50 and the 24-hour pass will increase from $2 to $2.50.

■ The full-fare single ride rate will remain $2.

■ The commission is doing away with the five-day pass and introducing a 15-day pass, which will cost $34, $17 for the reduced fare.

■ Effective in July 2013, the commission will replace unlimited paratransit fares with a 46-trip per month coupon book for $80 and a 22-trip per month book for $40. Passengers who exhaust their coupon books before the month is over can use the service for the regular rate of $3 per trip.

■ Effective in July 2015, the para­transit service area will be reduced to three-quarters of a mile from the fixed-route lines, which is the minimum Americans with Disabilities Act requirement. The commission previously offered paratransit for 1½ miles from the fixed-route service routes. It initially said that existing passengers will be temporarily grandfathered into the new guidelines, but that offer will end when the ¾-mile rule is put into place.

Contact reporter Adrienne Packer at
apacker@reviewjournal.com or 702-387-2904.

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