By Dave Fidlin
The cost to use an “agency” ride-share cab service in Whitewater could increase from the current rate of $9.50 per ride to $12 per ride to offset increasing costs.
The city’s Finance Committee hashed over the rate hike proposal at a meeting Jan. 23 and forwarded it on to the Common Council a favorable recommendation.
The “agency” rate applies to rides offered to Whitewater residents that are on Medicare. At this time, the agency rides are the only rate poised for an increase, though other user fee increases could come at a later date.
Rachel Blitch, director of finance and administrative services, provided the committee with the $2.50-per-fare increase for the agency rides. She cited a similar rate structure in nearby Fort Atkinson for the basis for the recommendation.
“The fares for agency rides are funded through Medicare and, therefore, are not directly paid by the individual rider,” Blitch said. “Given that these costs are covered by a separate federal program, the recommendation is to adjust the rates of the agency fares to more accurately represent the true cost of the ride.”
Explaining the rationale behind the increase proposal, Blitch said, “This adjustment aims to align the fare with the actual expenses incurred for each ride.”
Outside of the agency rate, riders currently pay lower fees to for the service. The standard adult rate is $3.25 per ride, while seniors and people with disabilities pay $2.25 per ride. Students are charged a $2.50 rate per ride.
“Until I fully analyze everything, I don’t want to change anything … until we know that it is necessary,” Blitch said of the status-quo approach to rate fares outside of the agency rate.