Revenue losses prompt Lynchburg bus company to consider fare increases

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LYNCHBURG, Va. (WDBJ7)-- With no car to drive, Katrina Moorman uses the Greater Lynchburg Transit Company once or twice a day to get where she needs to go.

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"While I'm job hunting and looking for resources in the community, I really need to use the bus," Moorman told WDBJ7 Friday.

Customers like Moorman could soon pay more for their ride.

For the first time in nearly 10 years, GLTC leaders are considering the idea of raising fares.

Under the current proposal, a day pass would increase from $4 to $4.25. A half-fare day pass would also go up, from $2 to $2.10.

"We're looking at a budget deficit next year," explained GLTC's general manager, Brian Booth, who said the bus company lost around $1 million in revenue because of a recent decision made by Liberty University.

For years LU paid GLTC to provide shuttle service on the school's campus. When LU decided to buy buses of its own and stop contributing to GLTC, the bus company lost roughly 25% of its budgeted revenue.

"We aren't able to spread the overhead as far as we were before," Booth said.

GLTC is working to educate riders about the possible fare increases. They've posted signs at the transfer station on Kemper Street, listing how much each pass might cost if the changes go into effect. Riders are also being encouraged to provide feedback through a survey.

"What I want the ridership and the passengers to know is that we are doing everything that we can to maintain the service that is available and try to improve it," said Booth.

Moorman said she'll likely continue using the bus if fares go up, but she worries the higher prices might tempt other riders to consider different options.

"If they're going to have to pay four to six dollars just to ride a few places, they probably would rather use something else like Uber and not have to wait 30 to 45 minutes or an hour on the bus," said Moorman.

A final decision on whether to raise fares won't be made for at least another month. GLTC plans to hold a public hearing to gather feedback on the fare proposal. That will happen in either late March or early April.

To learn more about the proposed fare increases and offer feedback, visit http://www.gltconline.com/events/fare-increase-proposal/

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