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MetroLink Tulsa to raise bus fares for first time in 10 years

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Posted at 6:37 AM, May 14, 2024
and last updated 2024-05-14 07:53:02-04

TULSA, Okla. — MetroLink Tulsa announced that it will raise bus fares for the first time in a decade come July.

While 10 years is quite a stretch of time for a transit agency to keep prices the same, one MetroLink official told 2 News that time and economic challenges have finally caught up to them.

"As we all know, the economy is taking a hit, and we've got prices going up everywhere. And our buses are affected in the same way," said BreAnna McCutcheon, marketing manager at MetroLink.

Citing the rising prices of gas, repairs, and labor, she added that it's "just the reality of the economy right now and what we're facing."

Scott Marr, general manager of MetroLink Tulsa (formerly called Tulsa Transit), in a statement said the fare hike "will allow us to continue providing the most reliable, on-time service to our riders.”

Starting July 1, it will jump to $2 on Fixed Routes, Express Routes, AERO, and MicroLink. That's a 25-cent increase.

Upon request, riders will be issued a two-hour transfer card for both Fixed and MicroLink routes.

LinkAssist (formerly known as Lift) will raise its rates from $3.50 to $4.

Riders 18 and under will continue riding for free and still need to have a valid ID.

Those who get reduced fares—like seniors—will still pay less than the standard rate. However, McCutcheon told us those reduced fares will see an increase.

2 News caught up with some routine riders, whose reactions differed.

"A 25-cent increase, it's not gonna be much out of my pocket," said one rider named Michael. "I'm a loyal MetroLink Tulsa guy."

One AERO rider named Daren said, "I just don't think $2 is much to ask, personally."

While admitting that nobody wants to pay more, he said, "I don't blame them for raising it. ... But I think they deserve it, especially after 10 years."

On the other hand, a rider named Terry disagreed.

"I don't think it's fair because there's a lot of homeless people around here that don't have money," he argued. "A lot of people don't have jobs—they can't get them. $2 is a lot of money for a good amount of people."

"$1.75, I thought, was a little high," Terry remarked.

Increasing fares "does cause a burden for many," McCutcheon acknowledged. "We don't want people to think that we're ignoring that fact by any means."

She also explained how MetroLink hopes to add fare validators to buses, which would let riders use their credit cards instead of getting a day pass. This, she said, is to help riders avoid overpaying—or "fare capping."

"We want our citizens to know and our loyal patrons to understand that this is a benefit to them," McCutcheon emphasized, "because now it will keep them from paying way over the amount that they ever needed to."

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