The Greensboro Transit Agency (GTA) held its final virtual public meeting on the proposed fare increase for Access GSO on Monday, May 17.

This was the third virtual public meeting held on the proposal to raise the fare for Access GSO, the paratransit service, from $1.50 to $3, on Jan. 1, 2022.

George Linney, a transit planner with the GTA, moderated the virtual public meeting, which was scheduled to be from 6 to 7 p.m. but ran a little long.  Linney several times started to end the Zoom meeting but kept it open to allow everyone a chance to speak or to call back and extend their remarks.

The consensus of the callers, most of whom identified themselves as Access GSO riders, was that they didn’t object to a fare increase but thought that it should be raised incrementally rather than raised by 100 percent all at once.

Several suggested raising it 50 cents a year for three years, to get the fare up to $3.

Several callers also suggested that Access GSO riders should not bear the full brunt of an attempt to raise more revenue from fares and that fares for the fixed route bus service should also be raised.

Access GSO was called SCAT from 1992 until January 2021, when, after a rider complained to the City Council about the name, the city changed it to Access GSO.

One caller asked, “Couldn’t you come with a plan where the rate increased incrementally for fixed route and Access GSO?”

Another caller said, “Doubling the fare seems to be a little bit excessive to me.”

She added, “I understand the budgetary concerns. But trying to balance the budget on people who are low income or fixed income just seems excessive.”

The suggestion was also made that GTA turn to the foundations in Greensboro to raise money to subsidize the fares rather than raising the fares for the riders.  Another suggestion was that a program be established where individuals could purchase passes that GTA could distribute to riders who needed help paying the increased fares.