Fare hike for Special Transportation Services is fair

07/28/2014 6:43 PM

07/28/2014 6:45 PM

In the July 20 letter to the editor Fare increase for disabled ‘un-American,’ Evan Flugman expressed concerns over the recommended 50-cent Special Transportation Service (STS) fare increase that is included in the proposed Miami-Dade County budget for fiscal year 2014-2015.

Unfortunately, given the difficult budget environment that Miami-Dade County faces, without the proposed increase, Miami-Dade Transit (MDT) would have a budget hole of approximately $2 million. That would result in further reduction of services, which is what we must avoid.

The Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA) allows para-transit fares to be a maximum of twice the cost of a fixed-route fare. The proposed 50-cent fare increase would bring the cost of a one-way STS ride to $4, less than what is allowed under the federal guidelines for the proposed $2.50 one-way fare on Miami-Dade Transit’s fixed routes.

It is important to note, however, that even with the proposed increase, MDT’s fares remain comparable to other transit agencies; and STS customers can continue to use bus and rail services free of charge with their STS cards.

The STS fare paid by the user is significantly less than what it costs MDT to provide the service. Approximately 90 percent is subsidized through local, state and federal funds.

It costs MDT approximately $24 per trip, per STS rider, to be transported in a vehicle that is not wheelchair accessible; and approximately $34 per trip, per rider, in a vehicle that is wheelchair accessible. During an average weekday, MDT provides approximately 6,000 STS trips.

Taxpayers pay more than $42 million per year to provide this service to more than 31,200 registered STS customers, a number that continues to increase.

MDT takes great pride in being able to provide this premium, door-to-door service, which far exceeds the federal ADA requirements.

Ysela Llort, director,

Miami-Dade Transit,

Miami

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