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MTS could change fares for 1st time in a decade

SAN DIEGO — The Metropolitan Transit System Board of Directors Thursday announced it is recommending changes to bus and trolley fares for the first time since 2009.

The fare changes would include the cost of youth passes dropping from $36 to $23, $3 day passes for youth and passengers who are seniors, disabled or on Medicare and a $5 increase in the cost of monthly passes for senior/disabled/Medicare passengers. That increase was initially proposed to be $8, but was reduced as a result of public input.

The age limit for seniors would increase from 60 to 65, the Union-Tribune reported.

The agency plans to simplify its fare structure as well after approving a contract with Innovations in Transportation, Inc., also known as INIT, to implement a new fare collection system.

“Change is hard, but today’s MTS decision on fare changes and a new fare-collection system is needed,” said MTS Board Chair Georgette Gomez. “Fares haven’t changed since 2009 and the system hasn’t kept up with how San Diegans want to use transit. We need to make it easier to use transit as a real mobility alternative.”

INIT’s fare collection system would reduce the need for day and monthly passes by calculating the best fare possible for each MTS rider, according to the agency.

Fare cards and MTS accounts would also be easier to manage, MTS boasted, via the use of a mobile phone application. INIT developed a similar system for Portland, Oregon’s transit system.

The San Diego Association of Governments will take up the proposed fare changes early next year. Once approved by SANDAG, the changes would go into effect some time in 2019.