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Capital Metro to would-be passengers: Come on and take a free ride

Tuesday, March 27, 2018 by Caleb Pritchard

The Capital Metropolitan Transportation Authority’s board of directors voted unanimously on Monday to suspend fare collection during the first full week of June. The free rides will coincide with the major bus network overhaul that came out of the Connections 2025 planning process. Now branded as the CapRemap, the new system will prioritize frequency over geographic coverage and feature a total of 14 routes that arrive every 15 minutes or faster during daytime hours. The agency predicts the free week, which runs from June 3 to 9, will cost approximately $310,000 in lost revenue. However, sales tax receipts have so far this year been higher than forecast and will be able to cover the losses. City Council Member Delia Garza, the board’s vice chair, raised the possibility of extending the free period to two weeks or perhaps throughout the entire month of June. Based on the staff recommendation, Chair Wade Cooper suggested passing the free week for now and exploring extending it at subsequent meetings, a proposal that Garza accepted. One reason for supporting the free rides, she suggested, is the palliative effect it could have on lingering public anxieties over the sweeping changes in store for the bus network. “If we could expand that free fare, it provides another opportunity for our community to get buy-in on this big change,” she maintained. “So I would appreciate the further consideration of extending it as long as we could financially do that.”

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