DETROIT (WWJ) – After more than two decades in operation, fares on the Detroit People Mover are going up. As of Monday of next week, it will cost 75 cents to ride the People Mover, as opposed to 50 cents.
City officials say the increase is necessary to keep the tram in operation. But even with the rate hike, the city says cash reserves are so low there’s only enough money to operate the People Mover through December.
If that were to happen, the tram may not be operational during the North American International Auto Show in January, which attracts nearly 700,000 visitors to Cobo every year.
Fares from 2.3 million riders in 2010 generated $900,000, which only covers about 15 percent to 30 percent of the People Mover’s operating cost.
The tram’s annual budget is $12 million, but the Detroit Transportation Company, which operates the three-mile elevated train loop, says they’re facing a funding crisis fueled by Detroit’s cutbacks, including a $1 million cut in their operating subsidy from the city — which is threatening federal funds as well.
The company has already reduced staff from 84 to 77 in an effort to save money.
City Council President Charles Pugh has said the company might be able to get some emergency transportation funds from the U.S. government to keep the people mover moving.