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New trolley fare starts on Jan. 5

Some students, nonprofits to see lower monthly rates
Daniel Franklin, of Durango, strikes the looking-for-the-trolley pose in 2011 while waiting on Main Avenue.

A trolley fare and lower transit pass rates for some students and nonprofits are rolling out with the new year.

It will be $1 to ride the trolley starting Jan. 5; the trolley has previously been free. Transfers from the trolley to the loop buses, however, will still be free.

Students in Durango School District 9-R who receive free and reduced lunches will qualify for free annual passes, said Amber Blake, the multi-modal administrator for the city: Those in grades six through 12 will receive stickers on their student IDs at school that will serve as passes; those in preschool through fifth grade can go to the Transit Center, where a free picture ID will be printed for them, and they can receive the same sticker.

Other students, teachers and staff for the school district can buy an annual transit pass for $30 at the Transit Center.

“In working with the school district, they have been an amazing partner in this process,” Blake said.

Students also will receive a grace period that will start Jan. 5 and end Jan. 14, at the insistence of Mayor Sweetie Marbury. If students board the trolley without $1 for the fare, the driver will educate them about the new fare but will still allow them to board.

In addition, a new rate is being rolled out for nonprofits to soften the blow of the new fare. These organizations will now pay 45 cents instead of 90 cents for one-time tickets that are given to clients in need.

The nonprofits that will pay the new rate include Manna Soup Kitchen, Housing Solutions for the Southwest, The Salvation Army, Axis Health, the local Department of Veterans Affairs office, the Family Center of Durango, Hilltop House, Women’s Resource Center and Alternative Horizons. Last year, these nonprofits purchased 9,000 passes for their clients, Blake said.

All other transit fares and rates for passes will remain in place. Low-income adults can purchase monthly passes for $20. Low-income seniors, disabled adults and youths 5-18 who are not in school can receive a monthly pass for $15. A regular adult pass is $30.

The Durango City Council passed the trolley fare by a 4-1 vote. Marbury voted against it, and she voiced support for finding money to bring back the free trolley next year.

The city’s transportation fund has been consistently losing money on the trolley. Even with a drop in ridership that the new fare is expected to drive, the new revenue is projected to balance the department’s budget.

mshinn@durangoherald.com

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