On Monday, the OC Transportation Authority voted to increase bus fares to keep up with operating costs and avoid losing vital state funding. Daily bus riders say they're not ponying up the extra money without first fighting the increase. Whit Johnson reports for the NBC4 News at 6 p.m. on Nov. 26, 2012.
Bus riders in Orange County will have to pay more to hop on after the Orange County Transportation Authority voted Monday to increase fares to keep up with operating costs.
Those opposed to the increase say they aren’t going down without a fight. “My heart just bleeds. I’m almost in tears. It’s too much,” said Scarlette Almero.
In February 2013, a single bus ride will increase from $1.52 to $2.00. A day pass will increase from $4 to $5. And a 30-day pass will jump from $55 to $69.
“It seems to me that the emphasis on revenue is far more important than serving the people who are disabled,” said Ken Schaap.
The Orange County Transportation Authority claims there was no choice, citing a California law that requires each rider pay 20 percent of the fare cost for the county to receive state money.
“About half of OCTA’s operating budget comes from the state and if riders aren’t paying that 20 percent we’re in jeopardy of losing that funding,” said Joel Zlotnik, spokesman for OCTA.
“We understand that this is going to have an impact on a lot of riders,” Zlotnik said.
Still, that explanation is one that some of the county’s 170,000 bus riders refuse to accept.
NOTE: An earlier version of this story had the incorrect spelling of Joel Zlotnik's name; the post has been updated.