SCRANTON — More money is going into the COLTS fare box, quarter by quarter. A ride on COLTS– the County of Lackawanna County Transit System — is up 25 cents beginning this morning. The ride that used to cost a $1.25 now costs $1.50.
Tim Solfman of Scranton rides the bus every day. He says the fare hike hurts at a time when he can’t afford the extra change.
“I gotta get a job. That’s what I gotta do. I’m sitting here, scrounging for quarters and everything. It’s ridiculous,” said Solfman.
COLTS says it needs the money to cover increasing employee salaries, and the cost of merging with another county bus system, one for people with special needs.
This is the first COLTS fare hike in about twenty years, and we found, at least on this first day, it’s not the money that’s causing the majority of the problems.
After a study by an outside consultant, COLTS has changed routes and schedules. It made Robert Kozaruk of Dunmore late for work.
“Now, the bus doesn’t come to my house til 7. I got down here and the bus doesn’t come until 7:30, 7:45 and Igot to be at work at 7:30.”
Kozaruk adds he has an understanding boss, who will adjust his work schedule to compensate for the different bus schedule.
Rodney Sharp of Scranton worries about a new transfer in downtown Scranton making him late for classes at a technical institute in Dunmore.
“I can’t go on like this, definitely. I got to be on time because I got to be in school all day.”
And then there is Angela Hernandez of Scranton. Hit with the fare hike for herself, and her children, and the pressure of getting them to summer school on time.
“That’s a little hard to get around, learning all the new schedules,” said Hernandez. “I just started learning the schedules six months ago, and now I have to do it all over again.”
While we don’t know of any future route changes, we do know COLTS has already approved another 25 cent fare hike, for July of next year.