Final phased-in fare increase for ADA LIFT rides to be considered by TriMet Board

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On Wed., Jan. 22, the TriMet board of directors will consider approving the third and final phased-in LIFT paratransit fare increase of five cents to make it equal to the Adult two-hour ticket of $2.50. In 2011, the phased-in fare increase was supported by both the Committee on Accessible Transportation (CAT) and the TriMet board to bring the LIFT paratransit fare equal to the Adult two-hour ticket. The fare increase will help with the cost and growth of the service. The LIFT program, mandated by the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), costs more than $32 million annually and has grown on average nearly nine percent per year since 1992.

TriMet LIFT fares for the door-to-door paratransit service are lower compared to peer agencies. Currently the LIFT cash fare is $2.45 for a two-hour ticket; the cost to TriMet is nearly $31 per ride. The ADA allows paratransit fares to be a maximum of twice the cost of a fixed-route fare, or up to $5.

Most transit trips taken by people with disabilities and the frail elderly are on fixed-route buses and trains. About 11 million trips are taken on buses and MAX, compared to 1 million trips on LIFT.

At the Jan. 22 board business meeting, the board will hold a first reading of the proposed ordinance and a public hearing. A second reading and a vote on the fare increase is scheduled for Feb. 26. If approved, the fare increase will take effect on April 1, 2014.

During the phased-in fare change, TriMet has maintained the Honored Citizen fare for fixed-route service at $1. Riders eligible for Honored Citizen fares are those who are 65 or older, on Medicare or have a disability.