"We want to work it out and we have a great partnership with UTA," Taylor said. "But at the same time, we rely heavily on mass transit." Carpenter said costs continue to increase for fuel, to pay operators, purchase vehicles and to maintain those vehicles and the money has to come from somewhere. "Our costs continue to rise and if we subsidize some pass types too heavily, it means we don't have the money to maintain the service and we have to cut service. And we're not just cutting service to the schools, we have to cut service for everybody," he said.
"Ultimately, we need to come up with a program that is sustainable for UTA and is sustainable for these universities and colleges." UTA hopes to offer a 25 percent flat-rate discount to all colleges and universities as it transitions through its various cost structures and tries to meet growing demands throughout its service area. It is a complicated issue, but Carpenter is sure UTA will come up with a solution and be able to charge each rider an "appropriate amount." "You have a certain amount of revenue available to put buses and trains on the roads and you have to come up with the best way to do that and serve the greatest number of people," he said. E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org Twitter: wendyleonards
Copyright 2008 LexisNexis, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.