Athens, GA– Increases in bus fares may be happening again for Athens Transit.

Only one person attended the first public hearing yesterday afternoon to learn about the three proposed increase options. The new fees will go into affect July 1,2014 if approved by the Athens-Clarke County Commission.

Athens Transit Director Butch McDuffie says,”if you buy a twenty-two-ride pass every two weeks, for twenty-six weeks, which takes you throughout the entire year. It costs less than nine hundred dollars a year to ride the bus everyday, that’s still a pretty good deal in most people’s case.”

They have seen a decrease of twenty-three thousand rides since August 2012 on one route because the University of Georgia allows anyone to ride their buses. “We’ve seen lost ridership at Athens Regional and Denny Towers, so we are losing ridership because the University is providing free services in other parts of the community,” says McDuffie.

But Mayor Nancy Denson indicates one specific factor that is the major contributor to transportation concerns. “Whether you are a bus rider, or whether you are driving a Mercedes or a clunker, everybody is affected by the rise in gasoline prices, of course that’s what drives it more than anything,” says Denson.

Comments will be accepted until the next public hearing on Tuesday, November 19th at 6 p.m. at the Athens Multi-Modal Transportation Center. Copies of the “FY 15 Transit Fare Increase Options” can be found at www.athenstransit.com.

BY: Avery Smith

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