TARC Fare May Increase Due to Diesel Prices

TARC Riders

The Courier-Journal is reporting this morning that TARC, the Transit Authority of River City, may increase fares due to rising diesel fuel costs (above photo also from the C-J):

A month after TARC officials forecast a 10-cent increase in bus fares, Executive Director Barry Barker said yesterday that skyrocketing diesel-fuel prices require a bigger hit.

Barker said he’ll recommend that the adult cash fare be raised by 25 cents, to $1.50, effective July 1, along with about $1 million in previously announced service cuts.

TARC Diesel

There’s some interesting details in the article, including the price that TARC currently pays for diesel and what it expects to pay in the future contract, as well as the not-so-stunning revelation that ridership hasn’t increased as gasoline prices have skyrocketed:

Last month, Transit Authority of River City officials expected to negotiate a new yearlong contract to buy fuel for around $3.20 a gallon. They currently pay $2.41 a gallon under a contract that expires July 1.

But Barker said the new contract likely will bring the cost closer to $4 a gallon, which would raise TARC’s annual diesel-fuel costs from $6 million this fiscal year to around $10 million in 2008-09.

TARC has more than 250 buses, and every penny increase in the cost of fuel raises its annual operating cost by $25,000.

Even so, TARC officials say they are bent on holding the line on a budget of around $67 million.

TARC raised fares from $1 to $1.25 last July 1, the first increase since 1994, although lower nonpeak fares were eliminated in 2004.

Higher gasoline prices for motorists have not resulted in a major jump in bus ridership, but Barker expects that may occur.

TARC had 1.4 million riders in April, which is 3.3 percent more than it had in April 2007, the latest figures show.

Additionally, TARC plans some route cuts:

The staff also has drawn up a list of suggested service cuts valued at around $1 million to accompany the 25-cent fare increase.

They involve changing some routes and reducing the number of buses running on others. The affected routes are 15, 19, 21, 22, 23, 25, 31, 43, 45, 55 and 58.

TARC recently laid off eight white-collar workers from its staff of approximately 680 and adopted tighter guidelines for drivers on the idling of buses, a measure intended to save fuel and curtail noise and pollution. As of June 29, TARC also will eliminate its Night Owl service — five night routes serving job centers. The action will save about $475,000 a year.

Raising fares and cutting routes sounds like a recipe to keep ridership low, frankly. While part of the blame for that should definitely lay at TARC’s feet, Louisville’s politicians have never had the political will (or incentive, for that matter) to really bother funding or improving TARC. Get ready, TARC riders, as it’s only going to get worse as more people forgo driving because of gasoline costs.

On the other hand, perhaps we’ll get to read more reveries from the C-J‘s David Hawpe about strippers riding the bus.


4 Responses to “TARC Fare May Increase Due to Diesel Prices”

  1. […] Louisville is hiking bus fare, despite the fact that fares only make up 15% of the mass transit budget in our state’s largest city. A hint that nobody will enjoy hearing: Louisville has the perfect amount of sprawl to launch a hugely successful light rail, but the only way to afford that would be to tax gas or carbon emissions. […]

  2. Phillip Olympia Says:

    ahhhhhhhhhhh nooooo. oh well.

  3. James Clark Says:

    I sit and sometimes wonder why people say Louisville is a dead end city, no jobs. Well it is we are a city that one transit, a bus. If you have ever ridden a bus it will take you one time to realize you do not want to ride a bus again. They are accomidating but slow. They stop at every bus stop available. With traffic in downtown you can walk faster. Now because of higher gas, they are going to raise the fare. We still have rail lines in Louisville. Wake up people, yes I know light rail or a subway system will cost. Progress has to cost. The jobs will come back to Kentucky. More important the money will come back to Louisville. The downtown boom will last for a little while, with a one transit way. But add in a second and give me an option of getting there and back without having to pay for parking and walking to my destination 8 or ten blocks away. You will see more than just customers shopping downtown. You might go downtown to watch an NFL, NBA, or MLB game. You won’t walk all that way to see a snowball chance player that cost you just the same. Think about Louisvillians, is Oklahoma City, Nashville or Indianapolis really that much better than Louisville. NO they are not but we all use to travel to these places by rail

  4. […] Gets Slammed By Diesel Prices Remember back in the summer, when TARC fares increased? And TARC officials looked, well, kinda smart for locking in a new diesel contract given that crude […]

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