Santa Monica bus increases fares, introduces new deals

Riders aboard a Big Blue Bus in Santa Monica. File photo.
Riders aboard a Big Blue Bus in Santa Monica. File photo.
chargrillkiller/Flickr CC

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For years, 75 cents has gotten riders pretty far on Santa Monica’s Big Blue Bus. For a quarter of a century, seniors have only paid a quarter. Starting Sunday, everyone will need an extra quarter.

Seventy-five cents to ride the Big Blue Bus was the lowest base fare in Los Angeles County. But it was bound to run out of gas in a time when the sales tax revenue that subsidizes transit has dwindled.

The budget deficit dipstick says the Big Blue Bus is down almost $6.5 million. So the Santa Monica City Council approved some fare increases that’ll help make up about $2.5 million a year.

The regular and student fare goes up to a dollar on local buses and two dollars on express buses. Rides for seniors have cost just 25 cents for the last 25 years. But now, seniors, the disabled, and anyone on Medicare will pay 50 cents for a bus ride.

But the Big Blue Bus is introducing two new passes for frequent and occasional riders. Sixty dollars buys unlimited local rides for 30 days. And The Baker’s Dozen pass offers 13 rides for the price of 12.