NEW BEDFORD, MA – Beef, chicken, and gas prices at the pump are all rising due to a combination of inflationary pressures and pandemic supply chain issues.
But, one thing that won’t be costing more is the cost of a ride on a Southeastern Regional Transit Authority (SRTA) bus this autumn.
When SRTA resumes full fare collection on October 1, 2021 a ticket to ride will still cost only $1.50 – or even less when riders take advantage of reduced fare opportunities or use their Charlie Cards.
Currently, still grappling with fall-out from the Covid-19 pandemic, SRTA is operating on a discounted fare basis. A ride on a SRTA bus is just $1.00 – or lower for seniors, students, and people with disabilities. The use of a Charlie Card or one-day or weekly pass purchased at a Ticket Vending Machine (TVM) also reduces the fare cost.
That follows a period of time during the worst of the pandemic when fares were eliminated altogether.
Yet, planning for a post-pandemic public transportation future must occur at some point – and October 1, 2021 will mark the return to regular fare collection.
However, the new normal will not come with a fare hike despite the loss of revenue SRTA – like all transit systems – suffered after the onset of Covid-related restrictions from March, 2020 onward.
“We’re committed to serving our riders in the best way possible with intelligent and nimble use of our resources,” says Erik Rousseau, SRTA. “If anything, the pandemic proved how essential our service is to riders throughout the Southeastern Massachusetts region to get to work, do their errands, and remain connected with family and friends.
“We want to make sure SRTA fares remain affordable in order to enable more riders to take advantage of our service. That means returning our fares to a pre-pandemic, rather than post-pandemic, level.”
Even as SRTA navigated operating through a pandemic, it also began planning for the future after it.
In April, 2021 SRTA introduced digital, real-time departure signs at both its New Bedford and Fall River terminals. In May, it announced that its popular Intercity Express between New Bedford and Fall River would continue into 2022.
Now that the country and region are beginning to put the pandemic in the rearview mirror, SRTA is determined to move forward with a commitment to riders to remain innovative.
Riders, too, can be innovative when riding SRTA. Even when full fares return to normal in October, by choosing to fill a Charlie Card at a conveniently located TVM at a SRTA terminal they can still reduce their per-trip cost. Depending on the need for service, a one-day or weekly pass, also available at TVMs, will also still reduce the cost of a ride. So, while your hamburger may cost more and other transportation options will reflect rising costs, a ticket to ride SRTA will remain the same bargain it has also been – the most affordable per-mile trip you can make in Southeastern Massachusetts.