The Vineyard Transit Authority has unveiled a multi-year plan to increase fares aboard its buses and vans.
The proposal incorporates fare hikes in each type of ridership pass, including multi-day, single-ride and annual passes.
If the fare hikes are approved, the cost of an annual pass for both visitors and Islanders will increase Jan. 1. Under the proposal, the cost of a regular annual pass would go up $10 each year through 2018. The current cost of an annual pass is $100.
Island students carrying an annual pass would have to pay $30 instead of $25, and Island seniors will be charged $20 instead of $15. Each year following, another five dollars will be added to the cost of each of the two discount passes.
Three-day passes would also increase from $15 to $18.
Other hikes will not go into effect until the following years.
“They didn’t want it all to hit in one year, because we felt it wasn’t fair to our passengers,” said VTA office manager Lauren Thomas. “We didn’t want to overwhelm people.” Ms. Thomas could not confirm the underlying causes of the increase, deferring to other employees who were out for the holiday.
Single-ride increases of 25 cents per town for all passengers will go into effect in January 2015. But starting the first of that month, for example, riders will be charged $2.50 to ride from Edgartown to Oak Bluffs. This trip currently costs two dollars.
The last time the fare increased for town-to-town rides was 2002.
Also in 2015, the cost to ride the Lift will increase one dollar per zone, and the cost of a day pass would be eight dollars compared to the current seven. One-way Medivan tickets would increase from $10 to $15. The Medivan brings Islanders to Boston for medical appointments. The ferry ticket is included in the cost.
The last fare increases were passed in 2009 and 2010. These included a jump in the day pass, and an increase in the local senior annual pass which is issued by the Island Council on Aging organizations.
“They are trying to do it as conservatively as possible,” said VTA advisory board chairman Alice Butler.
A public hearing on the proposal will take place Dec. 5 at noon at the VTA offices in the Airport Business Park. Immediately preceding the hearing, the VTA will hold an 11 a.m. consumer advisory board meeting.
Ridership for fiscal year 2013, which ended June 30, was 1.16 million passengers. Every month since, ridership has surpassed the months of the previous year.