Council OKs Park-And-Ride Fare Increase

OCEAN CITY – The Park and Ride shuttle’s fares will be altered by the time Springfest hits Ocean City next month.

The Mayor and City Council held a public hearing last month to seek public comment on a proposal to raise the fare for the Park and Ride shuttle that operates between West Ocean City and the South Transit Station in downtown Ocean City, May through September.

The fare is proposed to increase from the current $1 ride-all-day to a $3 ride-all-day or $1 per boarding, which is the current fare structure of the Coastal Highway bus service. The fare increase is being considered due to decreases in revenue and higher operating costs of the service.

There was little comments made at the public hearing and the council voted to move forward with the suggestion.

This week, Ocean City resident Ellie Diegelmann took the time to express her concern on how the increase will impact Ocean City workers.

“I respectfully request that the Town of Ocean City please provide vouchers or reimbursements to non-Ocean City resident workers at the rate of $1 per work day as this causes a financial hardship to numerous Ocean City workers,” she said.

According to Diegelmann, the fare increase will affect at least 80 riders.

“Neither the workers or the employers should bear this financial burden,” she said. “It would affect them a dollar a day that they would otherwise not have paid.”

Councilwoman Margaret Pillas pointed out the town offers discount booklets for bus riders where they can save 75 cents a trip.

“This would be the same fare that we charge for the people that live on the island, that work on the island, for people that rent property on the island, and it is a valuable service that we can provide to connect those people in West Ocean City with Ocean City,” Mayor Rick Meehan said. “In fact I still think that is a deal to pay $3 to get into town and ride anywhere in town as well.”

Public Works Director Hal Adkins added that Park and Ride users will be paying the same amount with the $3 ride-all-day if they were already paying a $1 per board to reach Ocean City, their place of employment, and back to West Ocean City.

“In reality the only workers you would be affecting would be those who currently take the bus downtown and walk to their employment destination, and I don’t think it is 80,” he said.

The council voted unanimously, with Mary Knight and Lloyd Martin absent, to approve the resolution.