The state Department of Education is proposing to increase the cost of school bus fares to $1.25 one way, from 75 cents.
The increased fares are designed to cover rising costs for student transportation, and would take effect Aug. 1.
Under the new fare schedule, quarterly and annual passes would also go up. The cost of a quarterly pass would rise by $12, to $72. An annual pass would cost $270, from $225.
The Board of Education Committee on Finance and Infrastructure took up the issue today, and approved the increases. They’ll now go before the full board for final consideration.
The department noted that most students opt for quarterly or annual passes, and so would see relatively small increases under the new fare schedule.
In addition, of the 37,000 public school students statewide that ride school buses, about 54 percent pay nothing because they come from low-income households.
Still, DOE officials said ridership would likely decrease in the wake of the fare increase, though it’s unclear by how much.
Companies that provide school bus transportation testified against the fare increase, saying it would hurt families already struggling in the economic downturn.
The increased fares will bring in an additional $800,000 in revenue, assuming a 5 percent decrease in ridership.