PVTA Advisory Board Votes Against Fare Increases for 2013

Fares on the Pioneer Valley Transit Authority’s western Massachusetts routes will not rise. That’s the decision the PVTA’s advisory board made Wednesday. PVTA staff had called for fare hikes starting this Sunday to cover a looming budget gap,  but thanks to a last-minute boost in state funds that passed just last week, PVTA administrator Mary MacInnes says the authority was able to balance its budget for the coming year. PVTA staff still sought a fare hike -although smaller than originally proposed- but the PVTA board voted down any fare hike at all.

Springfield Mayor Domenic Sarno was vocal in opposition to the proposed fare hike. Sarno’s designee on the PVTA advisory board, Tom Walsh, says his office received hundreds of letters and telephone calls from concerned PVTA riders opposing the fare hikes.

“One thing to remember is, while the fare increases appear to be nominal to some people,” says Walsh, “for many people who rely on the PVTA as their sole means of transportation, it’s really quite burdensome, especially for those on limited and fixed incomes.”

MacInnes says the recent state funding boost won’t solve the authority’s long-term funding problems. And she maintains that without at least a modest fare increase, the PVTA is headed for a deficit in the next fiscal year.
“During a course of a year, fuel prices go up -health insurance, labor costs, whatever- so costs will go up. So our projection right at this moment, since the fare increase starting at the beginning of the year was not approved, we are projecting a deficit for FY ’14.”
MacInnes says the PVTA will work with Regional Transit Authority supporters in the state legislature to secure more state funding in the coming fiscal year.