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Countywide : Fares for Van Rides to Rise 20 Cents Jan. 1

Disabled bus passengers who rely on door-to-door access vans will see fares increase 20 cents to $1.70 beginning Jan. 1, instead of $2 as originally proposed.

The Orange County Transportation Authority approved the smaller increase this week and voted to use money from a $1-million-a-year reserve of Measure M sales taxes to help pay for the service.

The increase was the first in three years for the approximately 5,000 people certified to use the service.

Transit agency spokesman John Standiford said the vans used for door-to-door service make about 15,000 trips each month.

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The vans are used by disabled and elderly passengers who cannot use regular bus service.

Passengers must make advanced reservations before they are picked up at home and driven to any destination within Orange County.

The fare increase from $1.50 to $1.70 per ride represented a compromise. Earlier this year, users of the service objected to the proposed 50-cent increase, and the transportation authority held three public hearings in May and June to discuss the proposed fare increase.

After the hearings, transit officials decided to tap into the annual $1-million reserve fund, which is set aside specifically to stabilize fares for seniors and disabled persons. The fund will subsidize 55% of the fare increase.

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A special task force formed to review the access program will meet again in September, 1995.

The transit agency said the periodic reviews are necessary because of possible changes in projected ridership, revenues and costs.


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