Lextran's board of directors is poised to move forward with a plan to increase fares and make a series of service changes that include eliminating some routes, adding one route and improving Sunday service.
The board is considering raising fares by 25 percent. That would bump regular cash fares from $1 to $1.25. Monthly passes would increase from $30 to $37.50, and annual passes would increase from $75 to $93.75. It would be the first increase since 2001.
The route adjustments being considered would result in a net savings to the transit system of about $1.15 million a year.
A federally required analysis will be conducted this summer "to make sure that we are not putting a disproportionate impact on any low-income or minority populations" by making the changes, Lextran general manager Carrie Butler said.
After that, a more detailed plan will be brought before the public, and a series of "public involvement sessions" are scheduled for late August and September.
In October, the Lextran board is scheduled to be provided with information gathered from the public feedback process, and the fare increase and service changes could take effect Jan. 3 under the proposal.
The changes were suggested by Lextran management after a comprehensive analysis of the agency's operations that was conducted over the past year.
Butler said Lextran and other transit agencies typically undertake analyses of this kind every three to five years evaluate "what can we do with the resources that we have."
"Service changes and fare revenue are the things that we do have some control over," she said. "Fare revenue and our costs are really the only places that we can make some of those business decisions."
The majority of Lextran's funding comes from Fayette County property taxes and other government sources. Riders' fares pay 9 percent of Lextran's operating costs.
Jill Barnett, spokeswoman for Lextran, said some other transit agencies might get 15 percent to 20 percent of their funding from passenger fares.
The route changes under consideration include:
■ Adding bi-directional service on Sundays, which would cut down on travel time for riders, Barnett said.
■ Creating a medical route to serve the new HealthFirst Clinic on Southland Drive and other medical facilities in that area. This route would help replace Route 16, which had focused on serving the Bluegrass Community and Technical College campus on Regency Road.
■ Eliminating routes 23 (Nicholasville Road Express), 20 (Masterson Station), 31 (Alexandra Crosstown), 16 (Southland/Bluegrass Community and Technical College) and 17 (Northside Connector), and the downtown trolley service.
Butler said these routes have the fewest riders. Together, their ridership makes up less than 3 percent of Lextran's total riders, according to information provided by the agency.
■ Extending service to 10 p.m. on route 15, which serves the Red Mile area and has the highest ridership of all Lextran routes.
■ Modifying route 21, which serves Keeneland and Blue Grass Airport, to provide service at the times when most employees are getting to and from work, rather than as a regular fixed route.