Wednesday, April 1, 2009

April Fool's Day Fare Hike Arrives

The day of the astronomical fare hike is upon us.


As mentioned elsewhere, I couldn't decide what I was going to do -- would I really continue to purchase a 7-day monthly bus pass when the retail price was going up a whopping 50%? (Woodruff's TU article states, "Increases in pre-paid Swiper cards and other fare payment methods also take effect, though those increases will generally be less than 50 percent." -- I think she might need a math tutor -- most fares, no matter how sliced are going up 50% or more.) That 50% increase really got me pondering the value of a 7-day pass, and in fact, the name itself, 7-day Swiper. C'mon CDTA, can you really call it a 7-day Swiper, when at my last count (and things have changed a bit) there were 35 "Albany" bus lines, and only 11 run on Sundays? Not to mention, some of the lines that do run stop service by 6 or 7 p.m. on a Sunday!

I live closest to the Number 3 and Number 4 lines -- no weekend 4 service at all and no 3 service on Sundays.

I spend a lot of time in the Delaware Avenue neighborhood, but ask anyone who lives in that neighborhood about bus service and you'll get an earful of complaints. no 18 or 9 service on Sundays.

I use the 13 a lot -- but on Sundays, the last 13 to leave downtown Albany is at 5p.m. - the last one to leave the Slingerlands Chopper, 5:40 p.m.!

The harsh reality of the fare hike makes me realize just how much Sunday service is the bare bones of CDTA. In this economy that $10 saved by purchasing a 5-day pass rather than a 7-day could go towards something of greater value.

Then there were these thoughts running through my brain:

  • It is spring after all, and I have been talking about getting a bike for over a year now. Not to mention that my clothes are feeling a little too snug, so walking more on weekends would be good "for my figure," as my 97 year-old great Aunt Sylvia would say.
  • My conversation with the teller at the downtown KeyBank on Monday as noted on AOA. The friendly bank teller tipped me off that by purchasing a 10-trip pass before April 1 at $9.50, I'd (hopefully) still be able to use that pass for 10-trips once the increase went effect.
It was evident, all roads were pointing me towards trying out the 5-day pass, good Monday thru Friday-- at least during this first month of the fare hike. I could put the unspent $10 in my not-yet-started "save for a bicycle" box.

At about noon on March 31, I decided it was time to search for some kind of a break on the retail price.

I work for an organization that's affiliated with Daughters of Sarah Nursing Home -- actually, my office is right next door. I recalled that the nursing home does a bulk purchase of Swipers for employees, and thought I'd walk over and see if I could get in on the deal.

When I arrived, I learned that I can indeed purchase my bus pass through them -- but, the woman in charge of selling passes told me she was completely out of 5-day passes. She only had 7-day passes left - she could put in an order for more of the 5-days, but it would take a few days for them to arrive. She showed me the thick bundle of green 7-day passes that were available for sale saying that usually, at this point in the month she's out of 7-day passes, not 5-days!

I wasn't surprised to learn that with the huge fare hike, 7-day passes were no longer the hot item for the car-less employees of Daughters of Sarah. My guess is that CDTA is seeing a drastic reduction in sales of the 7-day Swiper pass. I'm also thinking ridership is going to drop. The fare hike is simply not affordable for the average CDTA rider.

So, for April, I was a bit of a fool...using my Daughters of Sarah discount, I spent $61 on a 7-day swiper instead of the $65 retail price.

It's definitely time to make my way down to the Troy Bike Rescue and learn a thing or two so I'm equipped to get around during Bike Month!

1 comment:

Roger Owen Green said...

I suppose the other option is to buy the 5-day Swiper and also buy the 10-ride. I know my wife & a fellow on one of my buses both bought 10-ride passers thanks to you.

Once I buy a bus, I definitely won't ever need a 7-day Swiper; as it is, because I have SUNY Albany ID, the #63, #10, #11 and #12 are free to me and my church is right off those routes (exc the 63, which doesn't run.)

WV: tumsism - that bad feeling in the stomach (probably caused by the fare hike).