BBB HDQTRS — A trip on a Big Blue Bus is about to get more expensive.
As of Aug. 29, the standard cash fare for regular passengers and students on most lines is going up 25 cents to $1 per ride, with the fare on Express lines going to $2, up from $1.75.
For seniors, the disabled and Medicare passengers who pay cash when boarding, the cost per trip will go from 25 cents to 50 cents for most lines.
It’s the first increase to the senior/disabled/Medicare fare in 25 years, Big Blue Bus officials noted this week, and the second increase to the base fares for students and regular riders during that time.
The new transfer costs will be 50 cents for regular passengers and students and 25 cents for seniors and others eligible for discounted fares.
Santa Monica College students and staff members continue to be eligible to ride the bus system for free with a valid ID under the school’s “Any Line, Any Time” program, which is paid for by the college and the Associated Students.
The City Council earlier this year approved the fare increases despite objections from riders to help close the BBB’s $6.4 million budget gap for this fiscal year.
The bus company is also offering new “value-added passes” that can be purchased online through its new web-based store at bigbluebus.myshopify.com. The BBB is debuting a pass good for 13 rides that is being sold for the price of 12 trips and a 30-day pass that offers unlimited rides for $80. (A 30-day pass for local trips only is also available for $60).
Reduced rate versions of the passes are available for students and senior/disabled/Medicare passengers.
The new passes are part of a plan officials hope will encourage more riders to pay ahead of time.
“Using passes really helps to streamline the entire fare collection process, which keeps the buses running on time,” said Dan Dawson, Big Blue Bus customer relations manager.
As part of the fare restructure, Little Blue Cards, Student Punch Cards and certain types of Day Passes (Student and Express) are no longer being sold.
Dawson noted that the new fare restructure is one of several strategies the agency is implementing so that it can retain its current level of service.
“Providing the best service possible is always one of our key goals,” he said.