Riders struggle with fare hike

HIGHER RIDE: To meet growing costs, OCTA raised its bus fares by $7 a month.

OCTA Raises Fees.

Three times a week, freshman Jackie Pedraza wakes up at 4:30 a.m., scarfs down a quick breakfast and hustles to catch the route 55 bus on Katella Avenue.

Until recently, she spent about $33 a month to purchase the Youth 30 Day pass.

But Pedraza has been paying an extra $7 since the Orange County Transit Authority raised all bus fares last month.

Pedraza and other members of her family find the increase in the bus fares difficult to adjust to.

The fare increase is necessary to address rising costs, OCTA spokeswoman Laura Scheper said.

California law requires that OCTA collect 20 percent of its income from its passengers. If the transit authority fails to do this, then it loses state funds, Scheper added.

Santa Ana College sophomore Jocelyne Poblador wouldn’t mind the increase so much if there were more buses in circulation.

But to soften the blow, OCTA added the 5 Ride Pass. It allows riders to choose the days to complete five rides, instead of having to pay for a single ride or day pass.

“Since they are asking for more money from the clients, they should improve [the bus system] since we are paying for it,” Pedraza said.

In response to passenger complaints about bus arrival times, OCTA plans on updating the Text 4 Next system.

Scheper says the updates to the system will send the accurate bus times, including if the bus is on time or late.

If OCTA does not raise prices now, it could lose state funding, making fares even more expensive.

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Still, the fare increase puts pressure on its passengers.

“Both school and transportation is expensive for students and we need to pay for other things as well,” Pedraza said.

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