JTA proposes fare, route changes

Seniors age 60-plus have ridden Jacksonville Transit Authority buses for free since 1989, but it hasn’t always been that way. Two years prior, when City Ordinance 87-1536 went into effect, a “senior” was defined by the age of 65.

Now JTA is proposing to return to that earlier definition and, effective Jan. 1, 2015, will move the minimum age for seniors back to 65. Seniors between the ages of 60 to 64 – born on or before Dec. 31, 1954 – will be grandfathered into the fare policy adjustment in order to continue to receive complimentary fixed-route bus service. The good news, then, is that no seniors currently enjoying free ridership will lose that benefit. It just means that for those born on or after Jan. 1, 1955,
the wait is a little longer.

ADA/paratransit eligible customers who currently pay $2.50 for service on the JTA Connexion will see a 20 percent fare increase, also effective Jan. 1, 2015. However, such customers who choose to use the fixed-route bus service will ride for free.

All eligible seniors must obtain a valid JTA-issued Senior STAR card to take advantage of the complimentary service.

Later this year, the JTA will also introduce route optimization, which includes renaming routes, creating more direct routes, coordinating transfer schedules, increasing service frequency and decreasing travel time. Riders will see the potpourri of alphanumeric route names changed to numbered routes, according to Cheryl Riddick, external affairs and community engagement coordinator. A public meeting will be held on Monday, Aug. 4, 5-7 p.m., at FSCJ Kent Campus, Building E, Room 112F. Two sessions of the public hearing for route optimization will be held Thursday, Aug. 7, at FSCJ Downtown in Room 1058, from 10 a.m. to noon and again from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m.

In late November the JTA will also launch NextBus, providing riders with a website and mobile app that will provide riders with “time-to-next-bus” information and trip times. To see the website, go to www.nextbus.com and look for Jacksonville Transportation Authority.

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