On Tuesday the Connect Transit Board of Trustees voted 5-1 to eliminate their olive route as well as 5-1 to increase fares across the board.
About 26 residents spoke during public comment in opposition to both these changes. Many who spoke cited the impact of raising fares on Connect Mobility—the service riders with special needs can pay to ride—will have on the disabled community and those with fixed incomes.
“If anybody rides the bus 60 times or more a month they’re going to be spending about $150 a month just to ride that one bus,” Connect Mobility rider Robert Vallantini said. “If they were concerned about the people who ride the mobility or the fixed routes they would stop and think are we doing the right thing?”
For Amy Altic, a Normal resident who describes herself as disabled and reliant on public transportation, the removal of the olive route will impact her daily routines.
“This is the second time they have taken the bus away from where we live,” Altic said. “I’m very upset about it because there is no way that I would be able to get to the bus. I would have to pay to take the Connect Mobility bus every time I needed to go somewhere.”
Though there will be options like a value pass, or a discounted amount when Connect Mobility rider purchase passes: 5% discount on a $25 value card, 10% discount on a $50 value card and a 15% discount on a $100 value card.
“The fare increase will apply to everyone. There are people in this community who do have transportation issues and it is hard for them to get around and I recognize them. But we also have to work toward funding a system that works for as many people as possible,” Connect Transit Board of Trustees President Mike McCurdy said.
For more information on Connect Transit visit their websites www.connect-transit.com.