Rabbit Transit bus fares are likely to increase in July, and patrons should expect changes to all of the service's fixed routes.
The public transportation provider is accepting public comment on the changes, which include new and discontinued stops based on destination popularity, said Rich Farr, executive director. Route 17 from Shrewsbury to York is the only one being completely eliminated.
"There's about two passengers per hour, but it's a life-line service," he said. "The people who use it have no other means of transportation and a majority of (the rides) are for work. ... We'll hear some emotionally charged stories from people whose lives will be altered because of that change."
He said it's unfortunate, but running a bus for two passengers per hour isn't the best use of the service's resources.
Boarding fees: The changes are part of a plan completed every five years, when the service evaluates whether its resources are being allocated in the most efficient manner to meet customer needs, Farr said.
The price increases are necessary to keep up with inflation, and are a result of funding uncertainty on state and federal levels and the rising cost of fuel and employee healthcare benefits, he said.
Starting July 1, the $1.40 boarding fee will increase to $1.50. It'll increase to $1.55 on July 1, 2013, and $1.60 on the same date in 2014.
"The reality is that we want our funders to keep our funding increasing at the rate of inflation," he said. "Part of that inflation is fares from riders, which also have to keep pace with inflation."
Multi-trip pass prices will stay the same, 31 days for $39 or 11 rides for $13.
New technology: Unlike previous transit development plans, this year's study used new technology to track riders.
The system, launched in 2010, logs all entries, departures, and transfers. Past studies were completed by sending Rabbit employees to ride the buses count passengers, but "this is 100 percent coverage," Farr said.
Service changes will take effect in October.
The buses will run the same number of hours and miles after the changes, with less-popular destinations being swapped out with busier ones, he said.
Data showed there are some segments where there's little or no boarding, such as a corridor from York College to King's Mill Road, he said, so those hours will be relocated to areas of higher need.
On the flip side, resources will be added to a route that starts at Rabbit's downtown transfer center and heads north on George Street, he said.
The route needs additional service during weekday rush hours, as it connects to a shopping center on Route 30, an industrial park, and the York campus of Harrisburg Area Community College.
How to comment: Written comments may be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org, faxed to 848-4853, mailed to "Service Changes and Fare Increase," 1230 Roosevelt Ave., York, 17404, or fill out a comment sheet at the Rabbit Transit Transfer Center, 213 W. King St.
Written comments will be accepted until 5 p.m. May 31.
A public hearing will be held 6 p.m. May 14 at Rabbit Transit offices, 1230 Roosevelt Ave.
- Reach Christina Kauffman at 505-5436, email@example.com, or follow her on Twitter at @YDYorkCounty.