New lower fares to be introduced to McKinney-area transit s…

New lower fares to be introduced to McKinney-area transit s…

New, lower fees will be introduced as part of Collin County Transit. (Courtesy Adobe Stock)

The McKinney Urban Transit District has agreed to lower the fares of its taxi voucher program as a substitute to bringing in flat fares for its passengers.

The city of McKinney, the McKinney Urban Transit District and the Denton County Transportation Authority together provide Collin County Transit, a subsidized tax voucher program. This program provides transportation options for participating cities, which include Celina, Lowry Crossing, McKinney, Melissa, Princeton and Prosper.

In addition to living in a participating city, individuals who qualify to use the taxi voucher program must be 65 years or older, have a disability or meet certain low-income criteria.

Riders using the system have had a variable fare, with the rider paying 25% of the fee and Collin County Transit shouldering the rest. But at an April 15 MUTD meeting, the board gave the green light for a six-month pilot program that would introduce a $3 flat fare for riders.

The program was supposed to switch to the flat fare this summer, but the process was held up by the ride provider’s software contractor, Cab Connect, staff told the MUTD board during its Aug. 19 meeting. Cab Connect stated that their fare-meter software cannot accommodate riders paying $3 per trip because “their software is designed to bill the full cost of the trip at the end of each ride,” according to the meeting presentation.

Instead, a modified fare percentage split was proposed, which should be implemented by Sept. 1.

Since the $3 plan was not an immediate option, the board reached a consensus and approved changing the fare percentage split so that riders will only pay 15% of the ride until the end of the calendar year, a 10% decrease from what they pay currently. The board based this decision on the average cost of a ride, with a fare of 15% of the average fee coming close to the proposed $3.

The city’s contract with the Denton County Transportation Authority ends at the end of the year, and the operator with which the city signs a new contract would be able to implement a new fare pricing model in early 2021, according to the meeting presentation.

The board plans to release more details about the decreased fare in the coming days.

Transportation Services Jon Cartu

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