The Solano Transportation Authority and the Fairfield City Council should not approve the proposed Fairfield and Suisun Transit fare hike because it is based on incomplete revenue and ridership models.
The City’s consultant only modeled revenue and ridership changes for FY 2014-15 which found that ridership on Route 30 from Fairfield to Sacramento is estimated to decline 1 percent and revenue is expected to increase 4 percent annually. Without models for FY 2015-2021, it is impossible to know if the proposed increases will help the FAST system collect the estimated $600,000 in annual revenue needed to support operating costs and build a reserve for bus replacements.
It is unconscionable that under the proposal, the average annual increase for Route 30 is approximately 7.8 percent or 54 percent more than seven years. The increases far exceed any pay raise or cost of living adjustment that the few people who still get raises would ever receive.
From the beginning, fares on Route 30 were deeply discounted, a decision that was shortsighted and impossible to sustain. In order to close the gap, the discount will decrease from 43 percent to 27 percent to make it more comparable to other area transit systems. This is never a good reason to raise fares.
The proposal also offers no solution to the severe parking shortage at the Fairfield Transportation Center. Riders will be charged an additional $25 monthly to park in the garage without a guarantee that space will be available. The City has been unsuccessful negotiating with Target and Home Depot to allow commuters to park in their lots. It is difficult to believe these two national companies are unwilling to support partnerships that promote public transit. City officials should try harder to make this happen.
At the very least, any increase beyond FY 2014-2015 should be postponed until accurate models for revenue and ridership changes can be completed and thoroughly analyzed, and immediate solutions for the parking shortage can be implemented.
Angela Wilson Jones