Some College of William and Mary students may take the buses that circle campus and the greater Williamsburg area for granted — with a quick flash of their ID cards they are able to climb on, sit back and travel across town.
The story is different for Williamsburg residents.
The Williamsburg Area Transit Authority presented several proposals at a forum Sept. 13 which would use fare increases, starting in Jan. 2012, to compensate for rising gas prices and the expiration of federal grants.
“We want to provide flexible, reliable and affordable options for community members,” WATA Communications Specialist Lindsay LeGrand ’09 said. “However, 22 percent of our budget is made up of expiring grant funds … we must supplement the loss of these grants in some form.”
The lack of community feedback, the close proximity of the voting date and the obstacles involving the amendment process make it likely that these measures will pass.
If the current proposal is passed at the Sept. 21 meeting of the WATA Board of Directors, the fare for a daily pass will be raised from $1.50 to $2. Trolley fares will increase from 50 cents to $1 and middle and high school students will have to pay 50 cents per ride. The fare for a single-ride will remain $1.25.
“WATA passes really save you a lot of money, especially if you’re a frequent rider,” LeGrand said. “For those who don’t want to or can’t pay for the fare increases, there is another option.”
In order to offset these rising costs and create more affordable options for the community, WATA plans to begin offering a seven-day pass, a book of six daily passes and a 30-day pass.
Although they do not have to bear the brunt of the price increases, College students too are paying more for bus services this year. While College students are not charged per ride, each student pays a flat price per semester under the General Auxiliary Services fee charged by the College. This year, the fee was increased by $1 to $27 per semester.
“I use public transportation daily,” Malcolm Keeton ’13 said. “But this will only affect me indirectly — the bulk of the price hikes will not be on students but on the community.”