Redi-Ride Service's Extended Hours and Increased Fare Goes Into Effect Monday
MERIDIAN TOWNSHIP - Additions and changes to the Capital Area Transportation Authority's (CATA) Redi-Ride Service was a topic of discussion leading up to the March 20 Township Board meeting. Despite concerns expressed by Meridian Township residents at the meeting, the Township Board voted to extend Redi-Ride's hours of operation and increase the fare. Their proposal was approved by the CATA Board at its meeting on August 15 and the extended hours and fare increase will go into effect on August 27.
Redi-Ride will now operate Monday-Friday from 7:30 am to 6:30 pm and Saturday from 9 am to 5 pm. The hours were extended to better accommodate Meridian Township residents who use the service.
"It's going to give them three more hours of service," said Phil Deschaine, who is a Township Board Trustee and the Board Representative for the Meridian Township Transportation Commission. "They can get a Redi-Ride bus at 7:30 a.m. if they have to be to work by 8 a.m. It goes until 6:30 p.m., so if they have a job that they get off at 5 p.m., they can use Redi-Ride to get home. It's going to help by adding a 38 percent increase in hours. That's a big increase in service."
Besides extending its hours of operation, Redi-Ride will also debut its new fares on August 27. The regular fare will be $2.50 and senior citizens and disabled residents will pay a discounted fare of $1.25.
Trustee Deschaine said this is Redi-Ride's first fare increase in 18 years. While some residents spoke in opposition of the fare increase at the March 20 Township Board meeting, residents eligible for a discounted fare also qualify for a discounted fare card. Ten rides can be purchased for $6 from Meridian Cares, which reduces the fare back to its original cost.
"What we did with Meridian Cares and CATA is we basically kept the $0.60 fare for anyone who is eligible," Trustee Deschaine said. "The concern was we were leaving our lowest income people behind, but not anymore. They can continue to have a $0.60 a day ride for the next year."
Next year, the Township Board will discuss renewing CATA's Redi-Ride Service.
"That's why we didn't make a definitive plan after August 2019," Trustee Deschaine said. "We need to get a year of experience with the new fares and hours, then we'll get a better idea for the following two years."
Trustee Deschaine said the extended hours and fare increase is a "win-win" because it is at no cost to Meridian Township residents due to grants and CATA's funding.