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Council will review Dial-A-Ride fares due to surging demand

The Claremont City Council will review a potential fare increase to the city’s Dial-A-Ride program this Tuesday, September 25 at 6:30 p.m.

Dial-A-Ride Claremont has provided inexpensive cab service to locals without transportation since 1985. The Community and Human Services Commission recommended the fare increase last month after several public hearings on the nonprofit organization.

The program was sent for commission review by the city council because of its increased popularity and cost. The program has seen its ridership triple in the last 3 years, according to Interim Assistant City Manager Colin Tudor in a report to the council in April. An estimated 78,000 cab rides are expected this year alone.

With the way Dial-A-Ride is growing, the city’s designated funds will only be able to maintain the program for the next 2.5 years, according to city officials.

“If we keep the costs where they are at currently, we will have no funds left within 2-and-a-half years,” said Claremont Management Analyst Cari Sneed in an interview last month.

The city is recommending an increase to combat the problem before it happens. Though Ms. Sneed concedes that though no formal recommendation for a price increase has yet been made, riders may see rates increase as much as double the present rate. Currently, the general public pays $1.25 for a one-way ride, and seniors and those with disabilities pay $0.75. City administration is recommending a twofold  increase in the fare, with a $0.25 increase to group rides in an effort to encourage group usage.

By increasing fares, the hope is that users will be encouraged to become more conscious of the rides they request, according to George Sparks, administrator of the Pomona Valley Transportation Authority that provides the Dial-a-Ride service.

“It may give someone pause to consider carpooling or using a little shoe leather for the day,” Mr. Sparks said, who hopes that the service will be more available for those with no other means of transportation. “We want to make the price more appropriate with the value of service. The goal is to narrow that margin per trip.”

To view the full agenda for Tuesday night’s city council meeting, visit www.ci.claremont.ca.us.

—Beth Hartnett

news@claremont-courier.com

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