The Metropolitan Council, which oversees Metro Transit bus service, will hold a Downtown public meeting on proposed service cuts and fare hikes, Monday, April 18.
The 11:30 a.m.-1:30 p.m. meeting will be held at Minneapolis City Hall, 350 S. 5th St., Room 220. Routes discussed include 3, 5, 7, 9, 10, 11, 14, 16, 17, 18, 19, 24, 25, 27, 55, 94, 250, 260, 465, 535, 675, 681, 690, 694, 698, 724, 755, 756, 766, 774, 795 and 852.
Responding to a $30 million budget shortfall, the Met Council unveiled a proposed 25-cent fare increase and 10 percent service cut in late March. Reduced revenues from dedicated state taxes are the biggest culprit.
A Metropolitan Council press release said the group could finalize fare hikes and service alterations following a series of public hearings and after the Legislature establishes the state budget.
The target implementation date for a fare increase is July 1 and potential service reductions would take effect in June, September and December.
In 2003, the Metropolitan Council approved a limited fare increase in peak-hour express fares in the 2004-05 biennium to offset the state's budget shortfall, but there hasn't been an overall fare increase since 2001.
Although Metro Transit would get a state funding increase of about 2.5 percent according to Governor Tim Pawlenty's proposed budget, they would still fall short financially, due to rising gas and health care costs and the low revenues from the Motor Vehicle Sales Tax.
The potential changes in routes and fares are intended to sustain the bus service during lean times, which is expected to end with an influx of proposed state transit funding for 2008.
Comments about the fare and service changes will be accepted until 5 p.m. on May 1. Comment cards are also available on buses, at Metro Transit stores and at the hearings.
Those wanting to attend the hearing can register in advance by calling the Metropolitan Council Data Center at 651-602-1140. For riders unable to make the hearings, comments are being accepted by mail, e-mail and fax:
Regional Data Center
230 E. 5th St.
St. Paul, MN 55101
E-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org
Fax to 651-602-1464