Facing revenue shortages, Valley Metro is considering a possible increase of bus, LINK and light rail fares that could affect the entire Valley as early as March 1, 2013, and a public hearing is scheduled for Thursday in Phoenix for Valley residents to provide input.

Passengers currently fund about 25 percent of Valley Metro’s operating costs and local and state taxes fund the remaining cost, Valley Metro said in a fare-change presentation.

In an attempt to raise revenues, Valley Metro proposed a blanket 25-cent increase to all transit services in 2011, but after deciding that the increase would create inequality among passengers, the proposed increases have been revised.

This year, the possible changes include an increase of 25 cents to single-ride fares, 50 cents on day passes, $9 on 31-day local passes, $11 on express passes, as well as possible price increases for Arizona State University U-passes and Platinum passes.

Valley Metro may also replace three-day passes with 15-day passes and implement a one-way flat fare of $4 for Rural Route services and Dial-A-Ride services. The increases are predicted to create an extra $6.5 million in revenue for Valley Metro.

Valley Metro must seek the public’s opinion before implementing any changes. If you would like to voice an opinion or learn more about the possible increases, you can fill out a survey and view a PowerPoint presentation at http://www.valleymetro.org/farechange. There is also a public hearing scheduled for 5 p.m. on Nov.1 in the Valley Metro Board Room at 101 N. 1st Ave., Phoenix. Contact Valley Metro at 602.262.7433 or by email at receptionist@ValleyMetro.org for disability accomodations.

• Michelle is a Senior studying print and multimedia journalism at Arizona State University’s Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication. Contact her at (480) 898-6514 or tribintern@evtrib.com

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