City of Racine officials announce bus fare changes taking effect in 2015!

RACINE (WITI) -- Children and students ages six and above paying cash for their bus fare in Racine will no longer be offered a reduced rate effective in January 2015, according to city of Racine officials.

Using a pre-paid 10-ride pass which sells for $15 will still provide a $1.50 per ride identical to the existing “student fare” but kids age six and above paying cash will be required to pay the standard bus fare of $2. Children ages five and under ride free with an adult.

The change comes in reaction to cuts in state transportation aid from the State of Wisconsin according to City of Racine Transit Systems Manager Al Stanek.

“The Belle Urban System (BUS) has been forced to find new sources of revenue since a better than 10% reduction in state transit funding went into effect in 2012,” said Stanek. ”In 2012 the BUS had to raise the adult fare from $1.50 to $2 and earlier this year the cost of a ride on the demand-response DART (Dial-A-Ride-Transit) system went from $3 to $4.

Also effective in 2015, bus tokens will no longer be honored.

Belle Urban suspended bus token sales 20 months ago (April 2013) and advertised and implemented a token buy-back policy. Individuals or organizations wishing to exchange tokens for cash or toward the purchase of a 10 ride pass, new daily pass or 30-day unlimited ride pass can do so at the Belle Urban System (BUS) offices at 1900 Kentucky Street. Call 619-2436 for details on exchanging tokens.

“The City of Racine and its partnering communities of the Villages of Mount Pleasant, Caledonia, and Sturtevant and the Town of York were left with few options to replace state funding when restrictions on municipal spending were also imposed by the state,” according to Stanek. “The BUS will also be relying on additional revenue from advertising on the outside of buses and other attempts to replace the estimated $300,000 reduction in state aid.”

Parents and students are urged to consider purchasing the pre-paid 10-ride pass at $15 in anticipation of the change. They are available at Nelson’s Variety stores in Caledonia and West Racine, the Piggly Wiggly stores on Washingon and on Durand Avenues, the Pick’N Saves stores across from Horlick High School on Rapids Drive and at the corner of Green Bay Road and Durand Avenue, at City Hall, the Gateway Technical College Student Services office, the All-Saints Medical Center Cashier’s office and at Belle Urban offices at 1900 Kentucky Street.

Students issued special BUS passes by Racine Unified School District will not be effected by this change when appropriately using the RUSD issued pass.