OC Bus, Tram Fares To Increase May 1

OC Bus, Tram Fares To Increase May 1
Photo by Chris Parypa

OCEAN CITY – The adoption of two resolutions this week will allow bus and tram fares in Ocean City to increase by $1 beginning May 1.

In a Mayor and Council meeting Monday, officials voted 6-0, with Councilman Peter Buas absent, to adopt a pair of resolutions increasing the municipal bus fare from $3 to $4 and increasing the Boardwalk tram fare from $4 to $5.

Officials say the changes will take effect on May 1.

In March, the Mayor and Council had before them favorable recommendations from the Ocean City Transportation Committee to raise the town’s bus and tram fares by $1. Officials say increasing the tram fare from $4 to $5 would result in additional revenues of $94,885, while increasing the bus fare from $3 to $4 would result in additional revenues of $390,545.

At the recommendation of the committee, the council voted 5-1 last month to move forward with increasing bus and tram fares, with an implementation date of May 1. Since that time, the town’s transportation department has contacted the Maryland Transit Administration regarding the town’s intention to increase the bus fare and its efforts to solicit public comments by April 10.

In an update last week, Public Works Director Hal Adkins told members of the transportation committee that the town did not receive comments before the 4 p.m. deadline. He noted, however, that the department did receive a comment in the hours that followed.

“Basically, it appears a worker emailed at 1:15 this morning just stating they wished they could have some sort of workers’ discount and maintain it at $3,” he explained.

Adkins noted that he did not believe the worker would show up to a public hearing, but questioned if the council would still want to hold one.

“The deadline was yesterday at 4. The deadline came and went, and nobody filed by the deadline. We get one email at 1:15 this morning,” he said at the time. “Do you or do you not wish to have a public hearing? It is not required by law.”

Committee members agreed a hearing should not be held.

“I think we did all the advertising, we met all the requirements for a public hearing, and the deadline past,” Mayor Rick Meehan said last week. “So there’s no reason to hold a public hearing.”

Adkins also highlighted issues associated with a proposed workers’ discount.

“I can tell you, logically, if you were a bus driver, to sit there and try to verify whether someone is an employee working within the corporate limits of Ocean City with a pay stub, whether it’s authentic or not, I don’t know how you could ever do it,” he said.

Back on the agenda this week, the council held no public hearing, but simply voted on the two resolutions.

About The Author: Bethany Hooper

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Bethany Hooper has been with The Dispatch since 2016. She currently covers various general stories. Hooper graduated from Stephen Decatur High School in 2012 and the University of Maryland in 2016, where she completed double majors in journalism and economics.