The Pioneer Valley Transit Authority’s Advisory Board is scheduled to meet tomorrow (Wednesday) to vote on, among other items, proposed fare increases on bus routes and van service. The board is made up of representatives of the 24 communities the PVTA serves. But at least one major player is signaling that it will be voting against any fare hike.
The proposal to increase the transit authority’s fares was prompted by initial projections from PVTA officials that the Authority was facing a $1.8 million budget shortfall. But according to a recent analysis from Administrator Mary McInnes, recent funding from Beacon Hill has made it possible to balance the PVTA’s budget. And now the Authority has revised downward its proposed fare increases. Transfer fees, for example, would increase to $.50 instead of $1.00. And proposed increases would be delayed until July 2013, contingent on what the Authority is calling a long range, statewide transportation funding plan.
But Springfield Mayor Domenic Sarno says he’s not inclined to support any fare hike at all. He says he’s concerned about the impact the fare increases would have on many city residents, for whom the PVTA is their sole means of transportation. The Authority’s Mary McInnes declined to respond to Sarno’s statements, saying it would be inappropriate to comment before the Advisory board meets and votes on the proposed increases.
The PVTA’s Advisory Board meets Wednesday at noon at the Springfield offices of the Pioneer Valley Planning Commission. A public comment period will precede the board vote.