SPOKANE, Wash --- Bus passes and other bus fares are increasing for the Spokane Transit Authority on the first day of July.
A bus ride with a two-hour pass in Spokane has been $1.50 for the past five years. Voters approved a tax hike for the STA in the fall and it is going into effect July 1.
The monthly pass will cost five more dollars and the two-hour pass is going up 25 cents. The fares will also increase again in July 2018, according to the STA website.
They are increasing the fares for two reasons, said STA employee, Brandon Rapez-Betty.
The first reason is to stick to its 80/20 policy, which means taxpayers pick up 80 percent of the cost to run buses, while riders will take care of 20 percent of the cost.
Rapez-Betty said due to inflation over the last few years, 20 percent for STA riders dipped to 18 percent. That means when the new fare is fully implemented in 2018, the portion paid by STA riders will be 22 percent. That percentage is still under the national average of 23 percent and will remain the lowest fares in the state.
The STA website has a breakdown of how much the fares cost right now, and it has how much they will up by 2018. Starting in July, all fares will increase except for reduced fares, the reduced fares will increase by 25 cents in 2018.
The second reason fares are increasing is to help pay for more services to build up the bus system while carrying more passengers, said Rapez-Betty.
STA’s fare philosophy is to “encourage increased ridership by providing a convenient and reasonably priced method for citizens to enjoy the advantages of public transportation,” according to a presentation the STA gave during public outreach.