Formerly Free Staunton Trolley to Charge Fare - NBC29 WVIR Charlottesville, VA News, Sports and Weather

Formerly Free Staunton Trolley to Charge Fare

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Riding the Staunton trolley, which used to be free, will cost 25 cents. Riding the Staunton trolley, which used to be free, will cost 25 cents.

Every year, thousands ride the Staunton trolley, some sightseeing, others going to the grocery store or class. Soon, the free ride will turn into one with a 25-cent fare.

MaryKatherine Feehan, who's been riding the free trolley for years, says her disabilities keep her from driving.

"Being able to get on this trolley and go wherever I want to be destined to go to is really one of the most amazing things, because I really want to be independent," Feehan said.

But come October 1, Coordinated Area Transportation Services (CATS) is going to charge trolley riders.

"The state and federal government cut the funding for the upcoming fiscal year and that funding is having to be replaced somehow," said James Gallaher, the Staunton representative on the board of CATS.

To avoid cutting services or reach, CATS is proposing the 25-cent fare, which is expected to make up a portion of the $45,000 in cuts. The rest CATS hopes to garnish through transfer fares and efficiencies.

Mike Williams, who has been riding the trolley for the past four years on and off, says he's OK with a 25-cent fare; it's other people he's worried about.

"I think it's going to make it hard on the ones that don't have it," Williams said.

But CATS says riders won't be turned away.

"If somebody's short on cash, they've forgotten their money. It's like, ‘OK, we're not going to kick you off the bus. You know just catch us next time,'" Gallaher said.

Staunton city leaders learned about the proposed fare Thursday night and expressed their relief to know people wouldn't be turned away.

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