JETS fares could be on the rise

By Lauren Payne - bio | email feedback

JONESBORO, AR (KAIT) - Harold Carter says he's ridden a JETS bus on occasion and adds he's not surprised the fee to ride the buses could be going up.

"Any type of fare based system is going to encounter some need to increase the fares at different times," said Carter.

The time for JETS fares to increase may start next year.

"They're trying to find ways to make up pockets of funding...10, 000, 5,000 dollars," said JETS Director, Steve Ewart.

Ewart says the JETS advisory board has already voted to increase rates 25 percent across the board as of the first of the year. If the rates increased, the least expensive fare would still be less than a dollar for seniors and students, and about $2.50 for paratransit riders.

"It may increase revenues 10 to 15 thousand dollars maximum," said Ewart.

Ewart says by federal law and city ordinance, they had to have a public hearing before any changes can be made.

"Bottom line is that we want to have everyone participate in a very significant decision," said Ewart.

While attendance at Tuesday night's public hearing was low, Ewart says they're still looking for feedback on how possible changes could affect riders.

"Our board will then consider based on all the evidence that we have, all the information, all the data, what to recommend as far as the fares for 2011," said Ewart.

Ewart says JETS routes were reduced 55 percent as of this year, and cutting back more routes just wasn't an option.

"If you go below what we do right now, it wouldn't be much of a service at all because you couldn't get people from point A to point B," said Ewart.

Despite the possible increase, Harold Carter says it won't discourage him from riding.

"I really don't see an alternative except to increase fares as needed," said Carter.

Again, no final decisions were made on Tuesday.  At the board's regular monthly meeting next Wednesday, Ewart says the board will make their recommendations to him.

He will take that to the mayor for further review and a decision.  Ewart says there's still time to provide feedback.

There will be a JETS advisory board meeting on Wednesday, December 8th at 4 p.m. at the Craighead County Jonesboro Public Library.

If you would like to contact JETS, call 935-5387.

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