Madison Mayor Dave Cieslewicz has also proposed raising Madison Metro's cash fare by 50 cents to $2. Doing so, he says, would raise an extra $650,000 in 2009.
"If we do that, we can add some service back," he says. He wants to restore Route 10, which ran from the east isthmus to the UW campus, until it was cut a few years ago.
Metro will likely see some kind of fare increase next year. When the agency submitted its 2009 budget, it included a 25-cent increase, just to cover its operating costs. Cieslewicz blames rising fuel prices, noting Metro paid $1.47 a gallon for gas in 2000 but has averaged $4.06 a gallon so far in 2008.
"Unless I want to cut service, I have to raise fares," says Cieslewicz. The city's Transit and Parking Commission has final say on how much fares are raised, but Cieslewicz says if they don't okay at least a 25-cent increase, "I'd have to cut the budget. That would back into other kinds of service cuts."
Susan De Vos, head of the Madison Area Bus Advocates, says the group's members have mixed feelings about raising fares: "It took us all by surprise."
De Vos personally does not support the idea, especially since the city is planning to spend $64 million on road improvements in 2009. She believes the mayor encourages urban sprawl by funding roads, but not Metro.
"I have to wonder about a mayor who runs as an environmentalist," she says. "When you look at his actions, it's contrary to that."