Sarah Claud, a School of Public Health graduate student, will have to dig a little deeper into her pockets to use Ann Arbor’s public transportation system.
The Ann Arbor Transportation Authority raised fares and made changes to 14 of its 27 existing routes Aug. 25.
Claud takes Routes 6 and 14 daily to get from Industrial Road to Central Campus and the School of Public Health. Although she understands that fares have to be increased due to inflation, she would prefer that they stay the same.
“I buy 30-day passes since I use AATA buses every day and the increase in fares is a real burden,” Claud said.
Under the new plan, Claud will have to pay $1 instead of the 75 cents previously charged. Fares for students ages 6-18 and senior citizens 60-64 increased from 35 cents to 50 cents, while fares for riders with an American with Disabilities Act card and for seniors 65 and older, which were free before, now cost 25 cents. It was the AATA’s first fare increase in 11 years, said AATA Manager of Community Relations Mary Stasiak.
Stasiak cited cuts in state funding and rising employee costs among the reasons for the price hike.
“Before the increase, our fares had not kept pace with inflations,” Stasiak said, noting that the AATA still provides one of the cheapest city transportation systems in the state of Michigan. “If they had, the basic fare would have been 96 cents.”
While no routes were eliminated, some of the changes in routes and schedules are expected to have an impact on University students, faculty and staff who commute to and from campus on AATA buses.
“We routinely modify our routes according to ridership,” Stasiak explained.
Route 1, the Pontiac Trail, no longer covers Hubbard, Broadway and Traver. Instead, passengers from these areas would have to take Route 2, which is the Plymouth route, Stasiak said.
Route 16, from Saline to downtown now only runs twice in the morning and twice at night. A new route, Route 220 now serves Saline hourly, connecting to other AATA buses at the Meijer store on Ann Arbor-Saline Road, she said.
Sunday service on Route 22, the North and South Connectors, has also been discontinued, Stasiak added.
Stasiak said she expects the schedule changes made to Routes 1U and 12U to have the biggest impact on riders on campus. Route 1U now only runs twice a day and Route 12U, once.
The AATA route changes would have no effect on the University bus system. University buses will continue to serve the four transit routes of Bursley-Baits, Commuter, Northwood and North Campus in the same manner as before.
“Since the AATA routes are not actually incorporated into the University bus routes, the recent changes implemented by the AATA would not affect our routes in any way,” University Parking and Transportation Services spokeswoman Diane Brown said.
The changes were met with some gripes from University students.
“The AATA needs to justify any fare increase with investments that would more clearly benefit commuters, like more new buses and new routes,” Business graduate student Wagner Sanchez said. He uses Route 6 to commute to and from Woodbury Gardens every day.
“In my opinion I don’t think the cost of operation has increased that much to justify a fare increase,” he added.
A complete description of the route changes and fare increases can be found in the Ride Guide, a brochure available at the Blake Transit Center, at various locations around campus and on AATA buses. Alternatively, log on to www.theride.org.