No fare increases planned for Western Transit in 2012

Western Kenosha County Transit will not see fare increases for 2012 and will again be able to get a prime 80/20 percent federal grant for funding next year.

But as grant levels have not increased, there likely will be some scaling back of service for 2012.

Those were the prime news items from a public transportation public hearing held at the Community Library in Salem Wedensday.

Carolyn Feldt, of the county Aging and Disability Services Department, led the hearing and gave a presentation to start off the meeting.

Western Kenosha County transit was one of a trio of services that were the subject of the hearing. The others were the Volunteer Transportation Service and the Care-A-Van para-transit service.

Current fares are $2 per route and $3 for door-to-door service for WKCT.

For two years, county officials have been anticipating losing the 80/20 percent grant in which the county matches 80 percent of federal funding with 20 percent local funding. But that grant is still available for 2012 since there are unused funds still available, Feldt explained.

The county will seek essentially the same $470,000 it sought in 2010 for the grant.

However, that fairly static amount of revenue will likely mean some scaling back of service for WKCT, Feldt said. Funding has been static while costs such as insurance have continued to increase.

“We can’t provide the same service that we have been for the same dollars,” Feldt said.

WKCT has three set routes. Route 2, a loop in the central part of the service area that goes as far south as Antioch Illinois and as far north as Paddock Lake is the most likely to see changes in the effort to trim some costs, Feldt said.

“We want to be able to play with it,” Feldt said.

One frequent rider attending the hearing had some suggestions about route 2, including not having it go out to Silver Lake, since Route 1 already does as well.

Ridership on WKCT, which began in 2007, has increased each quarter, Feldt said. The all-time high for trips at about 1,500 was reached in August. Last month, the service logged 1,444 trips.

By comparison, about the same local dollars served about 100 trips for elderly and disabled transit before WKCT, Feldt said.

Another emphasis for 2012 will be continuing to build awareness of the service, Feldt said.

“I’m not happy with 1,500 (trips per month),” Feldt said. “We have the capacity to carry quite a bit more.”


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