OCEAN CITY – The longstanding price of the senior bus pass will face a $2 increase this week after a unanimous vote by the City Council Tuesday.
The current cost of attaining a senior bus pass is $5, but that price will now increase to $7. According to the council, this is the first increase on the price of senior bus passes since they were created.
The price increase will only be affecting the fee for those eligible for the resident senior bus pass. There is no cost for the non-resident senior bus pass.
The current policy is divided into resident and non-resident qualifications, however both maintain a 60-year-old age qualification.
The current resident policy states that those eligible must show proof of age, provide evidence of local residency and provide a photo ID to be displayed on the pass. The photo identification ensures no sharing of bus passes. The resident policy also requires a $5 fee to be paid which will now be the $7 fee. The resident seniors who meet all of these qualifications are entitled to free bus passage, free passage on the Boardwalk Tram and free ADA van service.
The non-resident policy applies to any senior over the age of 60. This bus pass allows for half-fare passage on the bus and on the ADA van. This pass does not allow for a discounted price for the Boardwalk Tram. The non-resident pass requires no photo ID and does not require a fee, therefore no price increase on the fee will be seen.
The council has faced issues surrounding the non-resident versus resident qualifications in the past, fielding complaints from those who may not be able to prove permanent residency here but still consider themselves residents. Several people felt the perks of the resident bus pass should be available to everyone.
The current issue, however, does not further this debate and will result only in a change in policy for those eligible for the resident bus pass.
Mayor Rick Meehan stressed that the price increase was reflecting an increase in the cost of issuing the pass itself. He also emphasized that the price increase would not be used to gain revenue.
Despite the longstanding price of the bus passes, the council decided to increase the rate based on the increasing costs of making and distributing the passes.
The council voted unanimously with Councilwoman Mary Knight absent.
Senior bus passes can be obtained at City Hall, Monday through Friday, from 8:30 a.m. until 4:30 p.m.