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In effect, agency fares represent a compromise (agreed upon by the Wisconsin Department of Human Services and the Federal Transit Administration) so that public transit systems can recover some costs while human service organizations can utilize public transit at a lower cost than would be paid to providers.
WisDOT Agency Fare Frequently Asked Questions, October 26, 2014
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Under Federal and State guidelines, Wisconsin counties operating shared-ride transit services are required to levy a fee for each ride. This charge is heavily subsidized by Federal and State grants as well as local property tax dollars to make basic transportation services available and affordable for the entire general population. Funding is limited. An agency fare can be established to maintain the "primacy" of general public transit services and avoid or limit the potential off-loading of trips that are more appropriately funded by other public or private sources. Agency fares are prepaid through a voucher system coordinated by Walworth County and must be applied uniformly.
The initial one-way agency fare will be $8 for all Walworth County trips effective April 2018. Transportation outside of Walworth County is not provided by Walworth County Shared-Ride. There are no provisions for punch cards or other prepaid fare media other than vouchers. The total amount of outstanding unredeemed vouchers in any given month is at the discretion of Walworth County.
All communities, operators, and organizations struggle to maximize service with limited resources. It is inherently unfair to burden one entity with another's costs without reasonable compensation. The County's cost per hour to provide Shared-Ride Transit Service is more than three to four times the established estimated agency fare of $8. As an alternative to potential future service reductions, agency fares can be adjusted by Walworth County.