The CATA Thread



  • I agree hood. I think that if it really comes down to the millage failing, and without it they truly cannot afford not to make that deep of cuts, then they might as well raise fares to $2 or something. I think a significant fare increase would be less of a blow to people than cutting routes that much. For me personally I would still pay that, but honestly, routes reduced that much would be to the point it probably wouldn't be worth it to me to use the system, I might as well buy a 2nd car.

    I don't fully expect it to fail, but I do have to admit it doesn't look good.
  • Regardless of whether the millage fails, I think LMich is correct: the state doesn't do enough to give adequate financial backing to our transit systems. The current state funding structure for transit pits various agencies against one another to compete over funding, and transit rarely (if ever?) has gotten the full 10% share it is allowed through the Comprehensive Transportation Fund.

    There is currently some legislation floating around in state government to open up more potential sources of funding, such as local option sales taxes. We need to give transit agencies more options and improve the resources the state offers -- relying just on property taxes and farebox revenues isn't working. For example, do we know if a CATA fare increase to $2.00 would even guarantee no service cuts? I can't do the math at the moment.
  • It's an absolute must that this proposal passes. A rate increase will only hurt the riders of CATA more as everything else that is purchased for home goes up. Mass transit, with the exception of places like NYC, has historically been paid for the most by people who don't need it. I think this is fair as it gives a compelling reason to start riding it, while charging the riders more only closes the door on potential avenues of transportation for many individuals.
  • $2 was just a totally random number I through out, not based on anything so even that might not prevent cuts. I suggested a fare increase ONLY as an option if the the two choices were that or the drastic cuts. Although it would hurt the lower income, I think it would hurt them less than the drastic cuts announced (of course assuming the fare increase wasn't $5 or something).
  • edited September 2008
    Cool, I recognize $2 was arbitrary. To clarify, what I was trying to say is that charging more might not be a viable option -- without the millage, even a $5 fare might not be enough to compensate for the revenue needed to keep the system up and running. I don't know whether this is the case, but I know farebox revenues only go so far.

    Does this idea make sense?

    ** Not trying to quibble over the fare increase amount per se. And I do recognize the regressive nature of higher fares.
  • It's not quibbling, your point is a good one and I agree with the principle. I think you could raise fares a fair amount before you would actually start deterring people, but you are going to eventually start pricing people out which will then mean you can't make as much off the fare box. And yes, you'd have to have to do some number crunching first to find out what increase would be necessary to make up for the ~.8 mills that were lost by the failed millage, and who knows, maybe that would be $10, in which case it wouldn't be an option.
  • The question was kind of asked, above, and that is how much of CATA's operations are funded by fares? I sent this question to CATA the other day and hopefully they get back to me.
  • More CATA News: Looks like they've brought themselves into the 21st century and launched a new website, complete with a rather useful trip planner. Nice!
  • edited March 2009
    And, I just received a reply to my request of exactly what fares cover. Here is how much each source pays for operating costs:

    Fares: 20%
    Local Funding (millages): 47%
    State and Federal: 33%

    So, it appears that the millages are quite important to the funding of CATA's operating costs.

    Fare and Local funds pay for fuel, oil, parts, utilities, wages, and benefits. State and Federal funds pay for buildings, buses, bus shelters, and large bus components such as engines and transmissions.
  • Another exciting transit / technology note:

    Google Transit is up and running for the Lansing area / CATA!

    So, now when you go to Google to get driving directions for a Lansing area destination, a "Public Transit" link shows up. Click it and you'll get the route and next couple of buses. Quite useful!
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