ASU professor explains Valley Metro rate increase proposal
Valley Metro, which operates the Phoenix area’s light rail and primary bus system, has proposed a series of fare increase that, if approved, will take effect in March 2013.
In a feature on Phoenix NPR station KJZZ, ASU’s Aaron Golub discusses the proposed increase in terms of the balance between affordability and cost recovery that all public transit needs to maintain.
“Periodically, as costs, ridership and revenues change, transit agencies need to update their fares to take into account the new reality,” says Golub, who is an assistant professor of urban planning and sustainability.
Asked by reporter Mark Brodie about the concept of equity in transit fares, Golub commented that light rail and local route bus riders tend to have lower incomes and thus be more sensitive to changes in fare than express bus riders. Based on studies indicating that this is true for Phoenix-area riders, Valley Metro has proposed a 50-cent increase in cost for single express bus fares, but only a 25-cent increase to the single ride fare for the metro and bus.
To hear Golub’s comments on these topics, as well as the possible impact of a fare increase on ridership, and public transit cost recovery in Phoenix and nationally, listen to the full interview.
Golub is affiliated with ASU’s School of Geographical Sciences and Urban Planning in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences as well as the School of Sustainability and Global Institute of Sustainability. His broader research interests include urban transportation policy, social equity and environmental impacts of transportation, public transportation planning, transportation in developing countries, informal transportation providers, and the history of transportation in the United States. Together with Arnim Wiek of the School of Sustainability, Golub is directing the public participation and project evaluation processes for Reinvent Phoenix, a 3-year City of Phoenix project focused on fostering development near light rail, funded by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.