|Meeting Date:||June 6, 2006||Primary Staff Contact:||Ann Seltzer|
|Estimate Time:||45 minutes|
Rogue Valley Transit District faces a $1.2 million shortfall for the upcoming fiscal year beginning July 1. RVTD is proposing cuts in services and a fare increase from $1.00 to $2.00. RVTD notified the city that it is no longer able to provide enhanced services in Ashland, Route 5 and free fare, for $290,000 per year and will terminate their contract with the City of Ashland on June 30, 2006. The contract allows for early termination by either party at any time.
The City of Ashland underwrites enhanced transit services for $290,000 each year. The enhanced services include Route 5, an Ashland-only loop and free fare in Ashland on Route 5, Route 10 (inside Ashland) and Valley Lift. Route 5 combined with Route 10 ensures 15-minute service between the downtown and university.
These enhanced services are paid through the Street Improvement Fund. As indicated in the budget message for FY07, this fund's financial difficulty is due to rising operational and capital expenses associated with the fund. The proposed budget includes a 15% increase in the transportation utility fee to offset anticipated expenses.
In previous years, Southern Oregon University (SOU) has paid RVTD $21,670 to help offset the cost of the enhanced services. In August of 2005 SOU indicated to RVTD that it can no longer provide these funds.
RVTD needs to cut services and to raise fares in order to balance their budget. RVTD intends to cut Route 4 in Medford and to raise the fare throughout the system to $2.00. RVTD will continue to provide Valley Lift service within ¾ of a mile of RVTD fixed routes, but will no longer provide Valley Lift service beyond that distance.
RVTD is able and willing to continue to provide Route 5 and is proposing a means for the city to provide free fare for citizens most in need.
|Related City Policies:|
The City of Ashland has supplemented public transportation for a number of years believing that increased use of public transportation eases the transit demands on the community including parking and congestion.
1. Direct staff to develop and implement a "free fare program" for eligible (low-income) Valley Lift clients and fixed route users using $100,000 of the currently allotted funds.
2. Continue to supplement the cost of Route 5 for $190,000 for one year to determine if ridership still warrants the service.
3. Continue to supplement the cost of Route 5 for $190,000 for one year to determine if ridership still warrants the service and direct staff to develop a "buy down fare" program for eligible (low-income) Valley Lift clients and fixed route riders using $100,000 (balance of current allocation for enhanced services).
4. Discontinue enhanced RVTD transit services.
Direct staff to implement a "free fare program" for eligible (low-income) Valley Lift clients and fixed route clients using $100,000 of currently allocated funds and return $192,000 to the Street Improvement Fund.
NOTE: This recommendation will benefit Ashland citizens with the greatest need and who are in need of transit assistance. However, it will place an added burden on the finance department and/or senior services to manage and oversee the program. The program must include a means for the city to recoup the administrative costs associated with the program. The program would possibly be administered by the Finance Department and Senior Services. Neither the Finance Director nor the Parks Commission has had the opportunity to evaluate the proposed program.
Move to direct staff to implement a "free fare program" for eligible (low-income) Valley Lift clients and fixed route clients using $100,000 of currently allocated funds and return $190,000 to the Street Improvement Fund.
• Written Comments (Submitted by Don Laws)