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GRTC fares could triple in absence of state/local funding

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RICHMOND, Va. (WTVR) - Bus fares on three GRTC Express routes might increase in June, if necessary funding isn’t provided by state or local government, said a spokesperson for the Greater Richmond Transit Company. The routes affected would be the Richmond/Petersburg route, Chesterfield Downtown Express, and the Commonwealth 20/Swift Creek Express.

GRTC is currently conducting a survey of its riders, but is contemplating a price increase from $3 to $9.25, on its Petersburg/Richmond route.

“GRTC is conducting a survey of its riders because the cost of fares on certain routes doesn’t cover the cost of the routes,” Joan Strasweski, media relations for GRTC, said in a release. “In fact, the fares only cover about 20% of the cost of the route in some cases, including the Richmond to Petersburg route.”

In the surveys, attached to this article on the left sidebar, GRTC states that fare revenue only covers approximately 20 percent of costs. The transit company relies on local government or state funding to cover the remaining 80 percent of cost.

GRTC has said that the City of Petersburg contributes $150,000 annually, but that amount is not adequately funding the cost of five morning, one mid-day and five afternoon trips.

Without a funding source, the fare would have to triple--an increase from $3 to $9.25—to cover the cost of the route.

If the fare is too high for riders, GRTC said that the route could be eliminated, or service routes reduced, and fare slightly increased. A reduced schedule would be two morning and two afternoon trips, at $4.50 fare.

“There is still a possibility that rates won't increase if funding comes through from localities,” said Strasweski. “But if the funding doesn't come through, there will be price changes come June 30.”