SANTA MONICA—On an average California day, the Big Blue Bus carries around 80,000 passengers daily, or speaking on a broader scale, 20 million passengers a year. From corner to corner, extending 52 square miles, the route extends from Santa Monica to downtown Los Angeles. The increases that were made were not what the transportation officials had asked for, which was supposed to be an increase of 20 percent on all fares.
In these hard economic times, the Big Blue Bus is faced with a $6.4 million operating deficit; on Tuesday, June 1, the Santa Monica City Council approved increasing fares, the following is a list of the changes due to take place on August 29:
A· 75 cent to $1 for customary passengers
A· 50 cents to $1 for students
A· 25 cents to 50 cents for seniors, people with disabilities and those on Medicare
A· SMC and UCLA student/staff discounts to remain unchanged
A· Universal transfers will still be available
A· “Baker’s Dozen” pass that offers 13 local rides for $12
Another consideration is the idea of hiking up parking ticket costs to keep the bus system financially flush.
Director of transit services for the Big Blue Bus, Stephanie Negriff, said, “The fare restructure is one of several strategies necessary to retain service levels. BBB will also continue to seek ways to increase local revenue sources, such as advertising and lease income, while looking for operating efficiencies to help reduce costs.”
“The approval of this fare adjustment will allow BBB to continue its commitment to providing quality transit service, we hope our riders will see their feedback in these new fare changes,” Negriff stated. “I believe this new plan is responsive to community concerns and provides the additional revenue needed to avoid service reductions in the near-term.”
On June 1, the council approved a 30-day pass for routine passengers, which gives bus riders that commute daily, access to unlimited trips on a 30-day span. The rates will be as follows:
A· The 30-day passes will cost $60 for standard riders ($80 that includes Express lines)
A· $40 for students
A· $24 for seniors, the disabled and those on Medicare