Wednesday, May 23

Santa Monica’s Big Blue Bus system may see increase in fares, affecting UCLA Transportation


Santa Monica bus system proposes hike in price to ride that may affect UCLA Transportation

With a decrease in funding for public transit agencies all over California, Santa Monica’s Big Blue Bus may increase rider fares to maintain the same service it currently offers.

As a result, UCLA Transportation is in negotiation with the Big Blue Bus to determine the exact amount of increase for student fares.

Linda Gamberg, marketing and public information coordinator for the Big Blue Bus, said the bus system has already sent a proposal for an increase in general rider fares to the city council.

However, Gamberg said a specific fare increase for UCLA students and faculty was not included in the proposal.

The proposal will be voted on by the Santa Monica City Council on March 23 and any changes made would begin on July 1.

While the contract between UCLA Transportation and the Big Blue Bus has not yet been set, UCLA rider fares are very likely to increase, said David Karwaski, planning and policy manager for UCLA Transportation.

UCLA Transportation traditionally subsidizes 50 percent of certain transit fees, such as monthly transit passes for UCLA students or employees.

“Costs are going to rise both for UCLA Transportation and the portion of the transit fares we subsidize,” Karwaski said.

According to Karwaski, Culver CityBus fares went up this past summer, and the Los Angeles Metro will see a price increase from $1.25 to $1.50 per ride this upcoming summer.

“We have to be pragmatic and perceive the real fiscal problem that is at the doorstep of every transit agency in the state,” Karwaski said.

However, Andy Han, a first-year undeclared physical science student, rides the Big Blue Bus frequently and offers a different solution to the lack of funding for the Big Blue Bus.

“People who use the Big Blue Bus as transportation use it for leisure activities like going to Santa Monica,” Han said.

Instead of raising rider fares, Han suggests cutting services, such as having fewer buses for one route.

“It would be better to just cut down on services because there’s no time restraint for fun,” he added.

Even though the exact amount of the increase is unpredictable, Karwaski is certain that the price will be tenable.

“We are a long-term partner of Big Blue Bus, and we would expect that the Big Blue Bus will cooperate with us,” Karwaski said.

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