Friday, January 9, 2009 - 10:24am
Mayor Dave Cieslewicz today joined community advocates in presenting a two-part plan to improve access to Madison Metro for low-income riders. Their proposal would make low-income passes available as soon as the fare increase goes into effect in 2009, as well as continue work on a long-term program for consideration in 2010.
"For many people in Madison, Metro is vital," Cieslewicz said. "By implementing both the fare increase and a low-income rider proposal, we can improve the Metro system and the service it provides, while working to make sure those who need it most have access to it."
In 2009, the mayor's proposal would take $100,000 from Metro's contingency fund to provide 3600 low-income passes, assuming a fare increase goes into effect April 1. Individuals who are receiving food stamps will qualify for the low-income pass and will be able to purchase the monthly pass by presenting their Quest card at one of three locations - Metro Transit, City Hall, and the Dane County Job Center. The low-income pass will cost $27.50 instead of the proposed $55 monthly fare and will be available at the start of each month.
"This program will be able to serve the working poor now, while we continue to make progress on a long-term, sustainable program," Cieslewicz said. "This effort is an important partnership between Metro and community advocacy groups, and I applaud their continuing hard work."
Assuming a fare increase goes into effect April 1, the mayor will also create an ad hoc committee charged with developing a sustainable program by August 1 for consideration in the 2010 budget. The committee will bring together Metro, Dane County Human Services, advocacy groups, Transit and Parking Commission members and alders.
"I applaud the mayor's commitment and the hard work of Metro staff and advocates," Lisa Subeck, Program Coordinator for the YWCA, said. "Not only do we have a proposal to give low-income riders access to Metro now, but we also have a commitment to continue working and develop a truly sustainable program."
"This is one of the most exciting efforts Metro has been a part of in the recent past," Metro Transit General Manager Chuck Kamp said. "I'm very pleased to have a program to put in place in 2009 and eager to work on developing a long term, sustainable program."
- Rachel Strauch-Nelson(608) 266-4611