Transit Board Votes Against Bus Fares
Public comments showed concerns about falling ridership, a concern echoed in the Board's own research. "Island Transit projected an initial ridership loss of 30 to 40 percent with levels returning to current ridership in three to five years," Jessie Stensland reports for the South Whidbey Register.
Those in favor of the notion pointed to shrinking budgets forcing the agency to cut staff and service. Rising gas prices would further stretch the budget. Council Member Price Johnson argued that the funds from fares wouldn't go far to cover those shortfalls. "She pointed out that projections show that fares would generate about $200,000 a year, require $300,000 in one-time costs to implement and have over $100,000 in yearly costs. Under the best-case scenario, fares would account for only 2 percent of the annual budget after three years," Stensland writes.