BBB fare increase update

With the future of the Big Blue Bus fare-increase uncertain, the Santa Monica College Board of Trustees discussed the possible decline of public transportation at their last regularly scheduled meeting on May 4. Don Girard, marketing manager of SMC and the board of trustees discussed the current situation of BBB's partnership with SMC and what the fee increase would entail.

With SMC's "Any Line Any Time" program affected directly by the price of fares, the board is concerned.

Local transit services, such as the BBB are finding it difficult, albeit almost impossible, to keep the current fare prices and the current level of service to the community.

The transit needs around $1 billion to survive and if they keep prices as they are, they're heading towards a $25 billion deficit by 2030, according to the Contra Costa Times.

While presently safe from mounting debt, it is unlikely that BBB will be able to keep the same quality of service with the current fare prices.

During the trustee meeting, estimated increases were established. The student price will go from 50 cents to $1.25, general fare from 75 cents to $1.25, and senior fare from 25 cents to 60 cents.

This increase is expected to take place next year, and will cost BBB 17 percent of their ridership. Business is expected to slowly rebound once riders get acclimated to the new prices.

Once a date for the fare increase is established, SMC will have one year before their fees are affected. SMC is looking at a minimum increase of $400,000 annually should prices rise to the projected numbers, according to Don Girard.