Threat of Rising Bus Fares has CT Riders Sounding Off

CT Transit is considering a proposal that could increase the cost of a bus ticket, but before the Department of Transportation makes a decision, riders have a chance to voice their opinions.

This month, the Dept. of Transportation is holding several public hearings to allow Connecticut residents to express questions, comments and concerns.

So far, two hearings have been held, and many riders say they just can't afford higher fares.

“I really have to depend on these buses,” said Angela Fraylon of Hartford, at a public hearing in Hartford. “I rely on them and so does my family.”

Fraylon traveled 40 minutes on two buses to get to the hearing tonight. The mother of two doesn't have a car and says she can't afford to pay 15 cents more for every trip.

The average ride could go up from $1.30 to $1.50.

“I’m hoping that they will think about it, and think about the people who have been riding the bus for a very long time,” Fraylon said.

Officials from the Department of Transportation say the money has to come from somewhere, and that this could be the best solution.

“Health insurance costs, employee costs, fuel costs, the costs of parts and new technology, all of those have an impact on our budget,” said Michael Sanders of the DOT.

The fare hike would not only come down on riders here at the bus stop, but also on paratransit riders.

Paratransit rides are already double the price of a regular fare, and the proposed increase would bring tickets to $3 apiece.

“This is being put on the backs of the disabled people,” said East Hartford resident Lydia Mele.

Confined to a wheelchair, Mele relies on door-to-door service. She said most riders can't afford another hike after last year's fare increase.

“Everything is rising rapidly, groceries, everything. But the seniors and the disabled people have incomes that are not rising to meet that,” Mele said.

Voices like Mele’s are being heard at hearings across the state.

DOT officials said they'll take everyone’s thoughts and perspectives into account before making a decision in October.

A list of this month's public hearings is posted on the DOT website.

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