C-Tran’s proposal to eliminate its daily and monthly paratransit passes will help to control costs and preserve its services, but some people worry the move would put a heavy burden on some of the service’s most dependent users.Federal law requires C-Tran to provide transit service for people with disabilities that complements its regular fixed-route bus system. C-Van accounts for 4 percent of the agency’s ridership but about 23 percent of operating costs. C-Van customers typically pay $1.80 per ride, but C-Tran’s actual cost of providing the trip is $44. Meanwhile, a fixed-route bus ride typically costs $1.80, while C-Tran’s expense to provide the ride is about $6.As the community’s population ages and more people begin to use paratransit, C-Tran wants to be sure the cost of providing the service doesn’t affect the viability of its other services in the long term.“I think there’s a misconception that agencies are worried about their bottom lines. That’s not true. We’re concerned about our customers. We need to be able to make this sustainable,” C-Tran spokeswoman Christine Selk said.About 1,270 people use C-Van every month and take about an average of 18,800 trips. But, according to Selk, of those 1,270 riders, only about 450 buy a monthly pass and only around 150 take the 33 trips required to equal its $59 cost. But the riders who do ride enough to make up the cost of a monthly pass ride a lot. Those “heavy users” take an average of 43 C-Van trips per month.
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