Why this is important
With more resources and a funding structure less reliant on fares, the Service Boards could focus on enhancing service and providing transit coverage across the region which broadens access to areas that have been historically underserved. This would also allow the region to innovate with different fare levels and models, such as seamless transfers or free or reduced rides for residents experiencing low incomes. Developing a structure focused on expanding access to opportunity is critical to realizing the vision of safe, reliable, accessible public transportation that connects people to opportunity, advances equity, and combats climate change.
Legislative Update: Lawmakers take important steps to make transit system less reliant on fares
June 1, 2023
Input from stakeholder working groups
Stakeholder working groups articulated a clear need to develop an equity-based funding structure to allow the Service Boards to enhance transit affordability while lowering reliance on fares to balance operating budgets. Specific discussion topics included seeking greater RTA autonomy in the distribution of capital and operating funds; studying and piloting programs to eliminate fares as a barrier for access; and working with social services to better understand riders’ unmet mobility needs.
Advocacy work ahead
No single revenue source will close transit's budget gap on its own. RTA is working with partners and local, state, and federal officials to explore a range of options for new revenue while implementing a strategic plan focused on building a safer, more reliable, and more accessible system. State leaders can begin to address the gap by fully funding existing programs for vulnerable riders, including paratransit service and free and reduced fare programs.