RFTA explains fares
This is in response to a letter from Gail Mason regarding the cost of riding RFTA. Thank you for your letter, Gail. The buses that travel between Snowmass Village and Aspen, and the buses that serve Woody Creek, are “free” because they are fully paid for by the Elected Officials Transportation Committee (EOTC). This was done in part to help reduce automobile congestion and to enhance the visitor experience.
Regarding the fare increase, RFTA is a multi-jurisdictional entity, and fare collection only represents about 21 percent of the revenue required to support regional bus services. Sales taxes, however, represent about 56 percent of regional funding overall. Unfortunately, due to the recession, RFTA sales tax revenue has declined considerably and consistently over the past two years. With this impact on our finances, RFTA had little choice but to raise fares and reduce services in an attempt to maintain as much service as possible for those who rely upon it. Nationwide most transit agencies were forced to do the same thing and/or cut service.
RFTA has a complex fare system (10 zones) that was set to be as fair as possible. Currently, RFTA charges $2 for rides within a zone and $3 to travel to the next zone. Regrettably, for anyone living near the boundary of the next zone, the $3 fare will seem higher than it would for someone living further from the boundary. However the fare increases in 2009 were the same for everyone.
As to the cost of riding RFTA between Aspen Village and Aspen, the least expensive way for you to take the bus is to buy a punch pass instead of paying cash. The cash cost is $6 for a round trip. If you use a punch pass the cost is $4.41. Please know that our staff at Rubey Park and our Aspen facility are always happy to help you, or anyone else, figure out the most cost-effective way to ride the bus. We have numerous options, and some employers help to subsidize the commutes of their employees.
Something interesting you brought up is the cost of riding the bus versus driving a car. According to AAA, the average cost of driving a medium-size car per mile – which includes maintenance, insurance, etc., and gas at $2.30 a gallon (of course now the price of gas is at least $3 a gallon) – is 54 cents a mile, not including parking. According to this, your actual cost for a round trip would be $11.34. So taking RFTA not only helps our environment by reducing air pollution and congestion, but it effectively saves you $6.93 per round trip.
Hopefully this background information will help. Concerning your not getting a “private response” about this issue, please know that RFTA takes customer service very seriously. If you cannot get a satisfactory answer through the usual means, please do not hesitate to contact me directly.
Dawn Mullally Chase
marketing and communications manager, RFTA
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