Increase takes effect Sept. 1
By Angie Landsverk
On Sept. 1, all Waupaca Taxi fares will increase by a quarter, and all rides after 10 p.m. will cost $5.
Last month, the Waupaca Common Council voted 8-0 in favor of the across-the-board fare increase and flat rate for rides after 10 p.m. Alan Kjelland and Chuck Whitman were absent.
“If we want to continue the service, the only alternative is to increase user fees,” Mayor Brian Smith said before the council voted.
He said a 25-cent increase seems reasonable.
There is currently a $1 surcharge on fares after 10 p.m.
When the $5 flat fare takes effect on Sept. 1, that means there will be no discounts for students, senior citizens and those who are disabled.
Having all rides after 10 p.m. be $5 is expected to generate about $500 annually.
The company recommended the fare increases due to the reduction of federal and state transit subsidies.
David Lowe, of Brown Cab Service, explained the situation, in a memo to City Administrator Henry Veleker.
He said the state/federal percentage available to rural public systems, such as Waupaca’s service, dropped from 65 percent of expenses in 2011 to 57.22 percent this year.
This year, the expenses for Waupaca’s program totals about $460,000, and the state and federal share of those expenses is about $35,800 less than if the percentage had not been dropped, Lowe wrote.
“That amount has been shifted from the state and feds to the municipality,” he said.
Brown Cab Service suggested increasing the user fees as a way to keep the city’s contribution to the program in line with its budgeted amount.
Lowe said this is the first overall increase in several years.
“Since simplifying the fare structure in 2012, Waupaca Taxi has increased a few fares on a selective basis, but has held the elderly/disabled rates at $2 per trip,” he said.
Increasing all fares by a quarter would result in annual revenues of $14,250, according to Brown Cab Service.
That is based on the approximate 57,000 rides provided annually.
An estimated 18,000 rides are expected to be affected this year, after the council voted to make the new fares effective on Sept. 1.
That decision is expected to increase this year’s revenue by about $4,500 over what had been projected.
Brown Cab Service says the level of ridership is about the same as last year.
The company had worked to increase ridership.
When Ald. Dave Peterson asked if R&R Transport has affected Waupaca’s taxi service ridership, Veleker said the city’s service area is defined by the Wisconsin Department of Transportation.
For R&R Transport, which began operating in the area last year, the sky is the limit, Veleker said.