Mayor, Council set to decide potential Sun Van rate hike
Photo: Video by kgun9.com
TUCSON (KGUN9-TV) - Maria Cadaxa has been relying on Sun Van, the City's para-transit service, for eight years. Before her cancer went into remission, she says, there was a time she used the service to attend doctor appointments almost daily.
"Public transportation, particularly for the disabled is a service, is not a profit making enterprise," Cadaxa told 9OYS while sitting outside her downtown area home.
In an effort to cover costs, Sun Van officials want to phase out their low income fair and hike ride rates from $3 dollars to $6 dollars.
Tuesday evening, outside City Council chambers, dozens of Sun Van riders, like Cadaxa, gathered in an effort to protest the potential rate hikes. This, while Mayor and Council met inside, working toward a decision.
Cadaxa says if City Council decides to raise ride fairs, the results would be devastating.
To put it into perspective, a daily round trip ride would end up costing Sun Van users an extra $6 dollars-a-day. That translates to an extra $30 dollars for a five-day week and, eventually, $120 dollars-a-month.
"Now, I have less than $475 dollars a month. If I were to take $120 out, I'd go hungry," Cadaxa added.
Ahead of Tuesday's decision, council members were split.
"I do know that the $3 dollar option is the suggested and recommended thing to do, but there are those who have other options," Vice Mayor Shirley Scott said.
"This is not the group that we should be raising rates on," Council Member Steve Kozachik added.
Tuesday, the Mayor and Council voted not to pass a $1 dollar or $2 dollar rate increase. But they also voted to revisit the issue to discuss a smaller rate increase.