AP. Even as the use of mass transit is increasing (earlier post), mass transit systems nationwide are facing significant budget shortfalls due to rising fuel prices, and are considering cutting service, laying off staff, raising fares and delaying capital spending in response.
The spike at the pumps could cost public transportation systems as much as $7.5 billion more this year.
While most public transit authorities are not raising fares yet, they have explored ways to cut costs and save money. Some have eliminated routes or run them less often, ended overtime, reduced travel expenses and cut other parts of their budgets, said William Millar, president of the American Public Transportation Association.
Some sample situations:
Albany, NY Capital District Transit Authority will spend some $900,000 more on fuel than anticipated.
Denver, Colorado Regional Transportation Authority is considering a $0.25 fare increase to help offset an estimated $11 million shortfall.
Salt Lake City, Utah Transit Authority is proposing a $0.25 surcharge to help make up an expected $6 million shortfall
New York City Transit is spending $567,000 more per week on fuel now than during the summer
Brian Shaughnessy, a spokesman for the New York Public Transit Association, said some transportation authorities earlier this year thought the high fuel prices would fall and waited to sign fuel-buying contracts. Instead, they were forced to pay even higher prices.