CATS riders upset over proposed rate increase
POSTED: Friday, October 11, 2013 - 5:30pm
UPDATED: Sunday, October 13, 2013 - 2:55pm
BATON ROUGE, LA (NBC33) — The Capital Area Transit System could soon be charging people more for bus rides. Thursday night, CATS CEO Bob Mirabito proposed changes to the system that could jump up the price of an unlimited monthly rider pass from $56.00 to $90.00, a more than $30.00 increase It has left riders wondering if they're going to be forced to find a new way to get where they're going.
Kasheena Bryat uses the capital area transit system buses for just about everything.
"Go to work, the library, different resources, the clinic, the doctor," listed Bryat.
That's why she was shocked to hear that it could soon be costing her more money to use those buses.
"I would probably have to find some other form of transportation, like my bike or I would walk or I don't know! It would be difficult, really, really difficult for me to get where I need to go," explained Bryat.
She is not the only one, Asia Wright uses the bus to get her daughter to school, to head to job interviews and get to the doctor. She explained that taking the bus is cheaper than pumping gas into her car, at least for now.
"It's $56 a month already then it's going up to $90? I don't think I am going to be able to do that now, I am going to have to go back to driving the vehicle now," said Wright.
CATS CEO Bob Mirabito was not available Friday for an interview, but did tell hand out an emailed response that said in part, “Since we are going to the metro council for approval of our system expansion, we are exploring adjusting our fares when we expand as a move to simplify using our service. We are looking at removing the transfer fees when one needs to change buses on a customer's trip while adjusting our fares so the changes are revenue neutral,” said Mirabito.
Councilman John Delgado has already said he will not support an increase in fares and said he has also got some serious doubts about the board getting approval for the increase.
"Well I mean, not everyone lives in a country club like Mr. Mirabito. Some people actually have to work for every penny that they get and he is telling those people that they have to pay more and more to ride the bus. I think that's offensive. I think it would be very difficult for them to find 7 votes for them to approve fare increases," explained Delgado.
Mirabito has also said that the CATS board is exploring some “Park-and-Ride” options and expanding routes and services.