(KCPW News) Less than a month after adding a 25-cent fuel surcharge to ticket prices, the Utah Transit Authority announced another increase slated to go into effect in October. UTA spokeswoman Carrie Bohnsack-Ware says fuel prices rose above $4 a gallon last quarter. This triggered the increase under a fuel surcharge matrix approved by the UTA board in May.
"We hate doing this. It's not something that we want to do by any means," Bohnsack-Ware says. "But even more than we don't want to have these fare increases, we don't want to cut service at such a critical time, when service is needed so badly."
The gas surcharge will boost fares for UTA buses and TRAX by 25 cents and by 50 cents for Frontrunner. But under the matrix, fares could go even higher if diesel tops $5 a gallon this quarter. According to AAA, the price of diesel in Utah is currently $4.74 per gallon. High gas prices are driving more people to ride public transportation. Bohnsack-Ware says ridership this June jumped 20 percent over last year. And public transportation remains an affordable alternative, she says.
"It's still cheaper to use public transportation rather than taking a single car with just one person in it," Bohnsack-Ware says. "I know the price is going up, but the price is going up with everything, and we're just hoping that people have patience."
She says the latest fuel surcharge will be eliminated if the price of diesel falls below $4 per gallon. The surcharge is slated to go into effect October 1.