A proposed Dallas Area Rapid Transit fare increase has received push back from the Mayor's Poverty Task Force.
DART board members are considering a proposed 20 percent increase across the board on fares, except the mid-day pass (from $1.75 to $2) and the para-transit pass (from $3 to $3.50).
For many families living in North Texas, though, financial plans surround a fixed income. Dallas currently has the highest rate of poverty of any city in Texas.
According to recent data from the Mayor Mike Rawlings Poverty Task Force, one of the main drivers of poverty is the lack of affordable transportation.
Task force chair Regina Montoya said the increase would put an extra burden on families.
“These are working poor who are going to their jobs. If it takes them a long time or it's too expensive, it can have a terrible effect on their lives," she said. We have to be sure that we are giving every opportunity for those living in poverty to be part of the Dallas middle class and this is too big of an increase to do that."
Montoya spoke at a hearing to ask DART board members to decrease fares for low-income residents, instead of increasing them.
“Other cities, like Seattle, Chicago, Los Angeles, Denver, have all provided reduced fares for the working poor living in poverty," she said. "Dallas should consider as well because half of Dallas earns less than 50,000 and we have 50,000 children living in extreme poverty."
According to a DART representative, the price hike was a part of a 20-year financial plan that would increase fares every 5 to 6 years.
Since the last fare change in 2012 the following services have been added:
- Blue Line light rail from Garland to Rowlett
- Orange Line light rail to DFW Airport
- D-Link bus circulator in Downtown Dallas
- D-Line bus circulator route connecting Deep Ellum
- Dallas Streetcar from Downtown Dallas to Oak Cliff
- Dallas Streetcar extension from Oak Cliff to Bishop Arts
- Blue Line light rail to UNT-Dallas
- New bus fleet using compressed natural gas, replacing diesel buses
DART board members will make a final decision on the fare restructuring amendment Aug. 8. The public can still voice their opinions at the next hearing at 6:30 p.m. July 11.