Fares for Access GSO will be raised incrementally, instead of being doubled, in accordance with a consensus of the Greensboro City Council at the Tuesday, June 1 meeting.

The recommendation from the Greensboro Department of Transportation (GDOT) had been that fares for the transit service for the handicapped – Access GSO, which was formerly called SCAT – be doubled from the current $1.50 per ride to $3 per ride starting Jan. 1, 2022.

That fare increase was included in the manager’s recommended budget presented to the City Council on May 18.

However, since then the Greensboro Transit Agency (GTA), which runs both the fixed route bus service and the paratransit service, held three public hearings on the proposed fare increase. 

Some speakers opposed any fare increase, but many stated that they recognized fares had to increase but asked that the increase to $3 be incremental and suggested 50 cents a year.  The City Council didn’t vote, but no one opposed the incremental fare increase.

The discussion followed a public hearing on the increase and a presentation by GDOT Director Hanna Cockburn with some information that got the City Council’s attention.

Currently, the fares for the fixed route and Access GSO are both $1.50, but the fixed route costs the city $4.13 a ride while Access GSO costs the city $31 a ride.

The presentation notes that for the fixed route, the city recovers 36 percent of the cost through fares and for Access GSO it recovers 4 percent through fares.

Cockburn said that 36 percent was about average for city bus systems, but that most paratransit systems recovered closer to 9 percent or 10 percent.

The presentation also noted that Greensboro was the only city in the state that provided paratransit service anywhere in the city limits.  Federal regulations require that paratransit service be provided within three-fourths of a mile of fixed route service.  Every other city in the state provides paratransit service in that three-fourths of a mile area.  Also, federal regulations set the limit on paratransit fares at double the fixed route fare.  Winston-Salem is the only other city in the state that charges the same for both fixed route and paratransit.  Five transit systems charge double the rate and two charge 1.6 times the fixed route rate.