CTA riders will soon have to pay more to hop on a bus

HARRISON COUNTY, MS (WLOX) - Beginning March 2, riders will have to pay an extra 15 cents to $5 to hop on Coast Transit Authority busses or trolleys.

"To a lot of people it really doesn't seem like a lot," CTA Rider Mark Hardin said.

"But, I don't know, when you are living out here on the streets like I am with no income, living from day to day, a 20 percent increase is actually more than what you think it is."

For riders like Hardin, CTA is their only means of transportation.

"I do a lot of traveling on the bus, but I ain't going to lie, 25 cent increase, it hurts for real."

"I have really bad knees which prevents me from riding the bicycle very far or walking very far," rider Kevin Strong said.

"The bus is critical, just critical to me. I have to have it."

Seniors and disabled riders who buy monthly passes are the only ones who will not see an increase.

"It's going to hurt a lot of people," Strong said.

"For myself, the extra $5 would mean a lot more because it's usually a whole days pay to give up for a monthly bus pass. For the people that it's going to affect, it's going to affect them pretty deeply."

In addition to the rate increases, there are a few other changes. The Keesler bus route will no longer run Monday through Thursday. Also, the stop at the Gulfport Biloxi International Airport will be eliminated. Instead that route will pass the Gulfport Walmart and extend to Dedeaux Road.

Originally, the plan was to alter and eliminate more routes, but CTA heard from riders who overwhelmingly favored higher rates over fewer choices. Still many worry about how they will come up with the extra money to keep riding.

"Somehow, some way or another I'll figure out a way to ride it," Hardin said.

"But it does complicate things though because out here it's hard to eat here much less ride the bus."

Cities are also pitching in to help with the deficit. Ocean Springs, D'Iberville and Gulfport leaders have agreed to pitch in their share of 75 percent of the deficit. Biloxi has not yet made a decision.

The increased rates are below:

Regular fare

Current Rate $1.25

New Rate $1.50

Increase $0.25

Senior/Disabled Fare

Current Rate $.60

New Rate $.75

Increase $0.15

Student Fare

Current Rate $1.00

New Rate $1.25

Increase $0.25

1 day pass

Current Rate $5.00

New Rate $6.00

Increase $1.00

3 day pass

Current Rate $12.00

New Rate $14.00

Increase $2.00@

Regular monthly pass

Current Rate $45.00

New Rate $50.00

Increase $5.00@

Senior/disabled pass

Current Rate $32.00

New Rate $32.00

No Change

Student Monthly pass

Current Rate $35.00

New Rate $40.00

Increase $5.00

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