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Would Raising People Mover Fare Impact City’s Budget?

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WWJ Photo, File

WWJ Photo, File

DETROIT (WWJ) – Detroit City Council is scheduled to vote Friday afternoon on amendments to the city’s budget that would restore some of the $50 million in additional cuts to Mayor Bing’s budget.

Mayor Bing has threatened to lay off police officers, close city swimming pools, and shut down Hart Plaza and the People Mover, if Council does not restore at least $30 Million of the $50 million in additional cuts to his budget.

Council members appear to be considering restoring some money to transportation. But, Councilman Ken Cockrel said the Director of the People Mover could do more to generate revenue and relieve the burden on the city by increasing the fare from its 1983 rate.

“This is an issue that I’ve been harping on really ever since we’ve been in budget. When you consider that the people mover opened in 1983 and was charging a fare of 50 cents, and here we are now, its 2011, and they’re still charging 50 cents… that is ridiculous. That means that they have for years missed out on that opportunity to generate additional revenue,” Cockrel said.

According to a marketing survey, People Mover riders said they would be willing to pay just under a dollar to use the public transportation service.

“Back in 2007 they did polling that showed a majority of their ridership would be willing to pay 75 cents. So, it seems to me, we’re missing out on a huge opportunity,” Cockrel said.

Detroit could be forced to return millions of dollars to Washington if the People Mover is shut down. City Council is expected to vote on amendments to the 2011/12 budget Friday afternoon.

Would you pay more than 50 cents to ride the People Mover? Do you think raising the fare would help generate extra funds for the city? Leave us your comments below.

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