Retroactive fare increases: not OK

From Charlie in Ravenna:

I am a regular rider, and don’t have many complaints (everyone has some, right) but the fare increase really surprised me. I understand the need for an increase (like you, I disagree with the way that transit is funded, but a fare increase is better than decreased service), but I had no idea that they would apply the fare retroactively.

I purchased a twelve month pass in November 2007, so it expires in October 2008. This was before the fare increase was announced. Today, I received a letter saying that I need to pay to upgrade my pass for the remaining months on the term of the pass. So I have to pay $63 for my pass to work for $1.75 fares (the new rush hour fare). And, I can only do this at two locations downtown, during weekday work hours.

I feel pretty used here. The annual pass requires a huge upfront cash payment. Shouldn’t they be rewarding us for making a big investment in public transit, rather than giving us a major headache by making us take off work and go downtown to pay above the funds we budgeted for when we bought the pass?

Has anyone else found this to be unreasonable?

I didn’t know about this insanity until Charlie contacted me (I receive a free Flexpass through work), but I definitely find it to be unreasonable. Frankly, I’m wondering how it’s even legal. Let’s assume that Charlie purchased the pass only because it was within his budget back in November, and let’s assume that he can’t afford to upgrade or pay an extra 25 cents every time he rides. Can he get a refund? And isn’t protection against changes in price one of the advantages of paying in advance? From what I understand, my employer doesn’t have to pay to upgrade my pass and won’t see any change in costs until Flexpasses are renewed in July.

Perhaps Seattle does need a bus riders’ union

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