SEPTA fares going up July 9

Posted: June 28, 2007

Bus, subway and rail fares will increase by an average of 11 percent on July 9, following a 13-2 vote today on a new operating budget by the SEPTA board.

The board also approved a "doomsday" plan to take effect Sept. 2, with 24 percent fare hikes and 20 percent service cuts, if the state legislature does not increase annual state funding by about $100 million.

For subway, bus and trolley riders, cash fares will remain at $2 and tokens will still cost $1.30, under the fare plan that will take effect July 9. But transfers will be eliminated on Aug. 1, meaning that riders wanting to transfer will have to buy an additional token or use a daily, weekly or monthly pass.

For regional rail passengers, the biggest change will be that TransPasses will no longer be accepted in Zone 1 (Philadelphia) during peak hours, effective July 30. Zone 1 riders will be required to buy a new Zone 1 weekly or monthly TrailPass, at a price 20 percent higher than current prices.

For regional rail passengers in Zone 3, the most populous zone, peak one-way fares will rise to $5 from the current $4.50, and monthly passes will cost $142.50, up from the current $126.50.

SEPTA last increased fares in 2001.

SEPTA officials were guardedly optimistic that "Plan B," with much higher fare increases and service cuts, as well as job cuts, will be avoided by legislative action in Harrisburg.

The state House has passed a transportation funding bill and sent it on to the state Senate. In current form, that measure would provide about $101 million for SEPTA operations.

Board Chairman Pasquale "Pat" Deon Sr. said the fare hikes were necessary to show the legislature that SEPTA was willing to share some of the increased costs, even as the transit agency asked for more money from the state.

"We have to show we can do some of our housekeeping," Deon said after today's vote, in which all suburban representatives voted for the budget, while Philadelphia's two representatives voted against it.

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