DURHAM, N.C. — The
Durham Area Transit Authority
will begin offering free fares to passengers 65 years and older beginning Jan. 1, 2005.
The current fare for seniors on the fixed route system is 50 cents per ride.
"The free fare service for senior citizens is a direct result of the $5 vehicle tax increase adopted by the City of Durham," said Stephen Mancuso, transit administrator for the DATA. "This increase in vehicle tax allows us to offer free fare service to help our senior citizens commute a little easier."
Senior citizens must present any government-issued photo identification that shows their date of birth to the driver when they board. Seniors can also obtain identification from DATA at no charge.
In addition to the free fares for seniors, the increase in vehicle tax will allow DATA to service Bethesda Elementary School, Neal Middle School, Lowes Grove Middle School, and Chewning Middle School. These new routes are effective Jan. 4, 2005, and will be active during the academic school year.
The Durham City Council adopted the new vehicle tax on Nov. 1, 2004, to increase the tax an additional $5 to support public transportation, including the free service for senior citizens and the service to four unserved public schools.
The City of Durham was one of the few remaining municipalities that were limited to a vehicle tax of $5 prior to adopting the new resolution.