PRESS RELEASE FROM DEPT. OF TRANSPORTATION
New City – The Rockland County Department of Public Transportation has opened a Public Comment period for bus riders to provide input on proposed new fare options and proposed fare increases for the Transport of Rockland (TOR), TAPPAN ZEExpress (TZx) and TRIPS bus services. Thanks to the County’s new electronic fareboxes, new types of electronic volume-discounted fare options are also being proposed for TOR and TZx. This will be the first fare increase for the bus services in three years. The hike was originally budgeted for 2013, but no action was taken. The Department will be soliciting public comments on the proposals through May 7, 2014.
Public hearings will take place on Wednesday, April 30, 2014 at the Palisades Center Mall Raso Room (fourth floor). An afternoon hearing will be offered from 2 to 4 p.m. and an evening hearing from 6 to 8 p.m. The public have the opportunity to provide comments for the record. The Public Hearing location is accessible to persons with mobility impairments and sign language interpreter services will be available for the hearing impaired.
Comments may also be made in writing to the Rockland County Department of Public Transportation, Attention: Fare Increases, Building T, 50 Sanatorium Road, Pomona, NY 10970, or via the Department’s website www.rocklandbus.com, via email to email@example.com, by voice message to (845) 364-2062, or by fax to (845) 364-2074.
Highlights of TOR and TZx Bus Fare Proposals:
· Beginning on or after June 1st, cash fares will remain unchanged at $2 for TOR and $3 for TZx buses. Exact change continues to be requested. but not required.
· Reduced Fares for senior citizens, people with disabilities and other eligible riders will cost $1 on TOR and $1.50 on TZx, increasing from 75¢ and $1. These proposed fares are half of the regular cash fare.
· An 11-ride “TOR E-Saver” electronic fare card will cost $20 and an 11-ride “TZx E-Saver” card will cost $30. E-saver cards will replace the current SuperSaver paper ticket system. A proposal is also being considered to allow the TOR E-Saver card to be used on TZx buses, with a supplemental $1.00 express fee.
· All Transfers will cost $1 and all Reduced Fare Transfers will cost 50¢.
· Proposed new volume-discounted electronic fares include a TOR Unlimited 7-day E-Pass, a TZx Unlimited 30-day E-Pass and a TOR College Student Unlimited Semester E-Pass.
TRIPS Paratransit Bus Fare Proposal:
· Beginning on or after June 1st, all cash fares for TRIPS buses will be $4 per ride. This fare will apply to both ADA and Regular TRIPS passengers.
· Volume-discounted TRIPS Tickets, sold in books of 10, will cost $30 per book (the equivalent of $3 per ride). TRIPS Tickets will be valid for both ADA and Regular TRIPS riders.
· Eligibility for TRIPS remains limited to pre-registered, certified ADA riders and to residents over the age of 60 who are unable to use fixed-route bus services.
In an effort to minimize impact to riders, the cash fare for the TOR, TZx and ADA TRIPS services will NOT increase. The proposal, however, brings the level of discount for volume-discounted and reduced fares more in line with industry standards, and raises the cash fare for the Regular TRIPS service, due to the high per-ride cost to operate TRIPS ($43 each way).
To meet the requirements of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), the County is required to provide the “ADA TRIPS” service. “Regular TRIPS” for those over age 60 is an optional service, but one that the County has provided for more than 36 years and would like to continue. In order to do so, however, more of the cost must be offset by fares. Both ADA and Regular TRIPS riders will have the option of purchasing volume-discounted TRIPS Tickets as an alternative to paying the full cash fare.
Since the last fare increase in 2011, route adjustments have improved TOR #94 access to more destinations and improved the TOR #91 Direct access to County services. The TOR Loop #2 was upgraded to include bi-directional service, which enabled riders to reach destinations more quickly and spend less time on the bus. Additionally, TAPPAN ZEExpress schedules have been adjusted to improve connections to Metro-North trains, and 15 new bus shelters have been constructed. Most recently, electronic fareboxes were installed on all TOR and TZx buses, making fare collection simpler and bus travel easier.
The TRIPS paratransit bus service has added five new state-of-the-art MV-1 specialized mobility vehicles to its fleet. MV-1 vehicles are small enough to negotiate small parking lots and dead end streets that had previously been inaccessible to larger TRIPS buses. Later this year, TRIPS will receive 19 new buses for its fleet and next year will receive five additional buses. Also in 2015, TOR will receive four new buses followed by 17 new buses in 2016. The TZx service added three new buses in 2011, and will receive 15 new buses in 2017.
The proposed fares and information about the public hearings are posted on the Department’s website at www.rocklandbus.com. Comments on the proposed fares may also be submitted through a link on the website.