Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Transit board proposes raising bus fares in Hillsborough

This story has been edited to make clear that the proposed fare increase would not take effect until November 2013.

TAMPA — The county's transit agency is proposing across-the-board bus fare increases to offset higher operating costs next year.

Among other changes, one-way fares and day passes would each go up 25 cents, to $2 and $4, respectively, if approved by the agency's governing board in September. About 1 million bus passengers a month would be affected, including paratransit, express and discount riders.

The boost is among several strategies outlined in the Hills­borough Area Regional Transit Authority's proposed 2012-13 fiscal operating budget to offset expected increases in health care and diesel fuel next year. The rate hike would take effect in November 2013.

Also under the spending plan, the property tax rate would climb to 50 cents per $1,000 of taxable value from about 47 cents two years ago. The average homeowner in Hillsborough with a house valued at $93,748 would pay just over $2 more in property taxes, said Katharine Eagan, HART's chief of service development.

The proposed budget, unveiled Monday at a meeting of the board's Finance, Governance, and Administration Committee, next goes to the full HART board, which will review the plan over the next four months before taking a final vote.

If approved, the increase would bring HART's fares in line with those of Pinellas County's transit agency.

It would come as more people turn to buses for transportation. HART's April ridership grew 11 percent to nearly 1.2 million passengers compared with the same month a year ago.

But the fare hike could slow at least some of that growth. Although revenue is expected to jump by an estimated $500,000 from the fare increases, HART ridership would fall by about 2 percent, Eagan said.

Gloria Mills, president of Hillsborough Advocates for Improved Transit, notes that many bus riders are already struggling.

"Understand that a lot of people are on fixed incomes and nobody else's paychecks are going up, so unfortunately, the people using the bus have no other means to pay for transportation and they're not going to like the fare increase," Mills said.

"People will have to tighten their belts. That's the reality."

Transit board proposes raising bus fares in Hillsborough 05/16/11 [Last modified: Tuesday, May 17, 2011 2:14pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Some teachers allege 'hostile and racially charged' workplace at Pinellas Park Middle


    PINELLAS PARK — Two black teachers at Pinellas Park Middle have requested transfers out of the school, alleging the work environment there has become "hostile and racially charged."

    Pinellas Park Middle School at 6940 70th Ave N, where some black teachers have alleged they were treated with hostility by colleagues after starting a tutoring program for black students. Just 22 percent of black students were proficient in English language arts in last spring's state tests. Two black teachers have asked to be transfered, according to a letter from two local chapters of the NAACP. [CHERIE DIEZ   |   Times]

  2. Editorial: The unknown price tags in the mayor's race


    St. Petersburg Mayor Rick Kriseman has been busy promoting all sorts initiatives in the months leading up to the Nov. 7 election, doubling down on his progressive agenda without spending much money or generating much controversy. But make no mistake, the cost will come due after the election. Without a change in …

    The mayor is determined to get artist Janet Echelman to create a sculpture for the new Pier. But the cost would be much higher than what is allocated. Above is Echelman’s As If It Were Already Here in Boston.
  3. Massachusetts firm buys Tampa's Element apartment tower

    Real Estate

    TAMPA — Downtown Tampa's Element apartment tower sold this week to a Massachusetts-based real estate investment company that plans to upgrade the skyscraper's amenities and operate it long-term as a rental community.

    The Element apartment high-rise at 808 N Franklin St. in downtown Tampa has been sold to a Northland Investment Corp., a Massachusetts-based real estate investment company. JIM DAMASKE  |  Times
  4. Judge won't cut prison term of man who pleads obesity


    TAMPA — A claim of obesity won't shave time off a Tampa man's prison sentence.

    Duane Crithfield and Stephen Donaldson Sr. were sentenced to prison after marketing a fraudulent offshore tax strategy known as a "Business Protection Plan" to medical practices, offering doctors and others coverage against unlikely events such as a kidnapping.
  5. Advocates for charter, public schools argue their cases at education forum


    TAMPA — Advocates of charter schools argued for diversity in education while supporters of traditional public schools charged that state funding is stacked against them during a forum Friday titled "Choices in Education."

    Schools such as Winthrop Charter School deserve greater public support, their operators say, because they offer a choice in education that is popular among parents. Public school advocates say charter and voucher schools represent a double standard in accountability and enrollment. [WILL VRAGOVIC  |  Times]