Janesville49.1°

Janesville boosts number discount bus tokens

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MARCIA A. NELESEN
May 10, 2011
— In an effort to feed growing public demand, the Janesville City Council on Monday raised its cap on the sale of reduced-fare bus tokens from 5,000 to 12,000 for 2011.

Dave Mumma, the city’s transit director, said the increased need is being caused by the poor local economy. In addition, the Janesville School District entered the reduced-fare token program in September 2010, further increasing demand, he said.


The city sells reduced fare tokens to charitable groups and the school district after each buys a certain number of regular-priced fares. The groups are then responsible for handing out the tokens so residents can get rides to places of employment, health care and schools.


Initially, the city capped the number of tokens at 5,000 for fear reduced fares would lead to a loss in revenue. Instead, revenue has increased, Mumma said.


So far in 2011, the school district has averaged 1,000 reduced-fare token purchases per month, and other organizations such as ECHO and the House of Mercy will use a total of 2,400.


By the end of this week, the city will have distributed all 5,000 reduced-fair tokens the city has authorized for the entire year.


“The numbers have just continued to accelerate,” Mumma said. “What do we do for the rest of the year with the need that is out there?”


City Manager Eric Levitt said the program is positive and is the result of the city working with other community organizations to help those in need.


“This is a really good program that’s come forward,” he said.


Council member Kathy Voskuil agreed that reduced-fare tokens are a need in the community. Helping solve that need is part of a city initiative to reach out in the community by working with different partners, she said.


Some council members wondered whether the city should even have a cap limit on the tokens, especially since the it doesn’t appear to be losing regular fares.


Councilman George Brunner said the council could take a second look at that during budget discussions later this year.


Other business

The Janesville City Council on Monday:


-- Approved the purchased and demolition of two properties at 527 N. Pearl St. and 14 S. Grant St.


-- Accepted a conveyance of land for public right-of-way at 3377 Milton Ave. and 3359 Milton Ave. The council also accepted a quit-claim deed from the Wisconsin Department of Transportation to provide access to Milton Avenue for a developer who wants to build a gas station and fast-food restaurant at the corner of Morse Street and Milton Avenue. The plan commission already has granted the developer a conditional-use permit, but that is being challenged by adjacent business owners who have appealed the decision to the city’s Zoning Board of Appeals.



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