Operators of the Northstar Link are proposing to scrap a fare schedule that charges riders different rates based on the time of day and replace it with a simple $2 flat fee.

The change would apply for commuter bus routes 887, 887T and 887V that run between St. Cloud and the Northstar commuter rail station in Big Lake. It also would apply to special event service.

"We are proposing to simplify fares by keeping them the same regardless of the time of day or direction of travel," said Tom Cruikshank, Metro Bus Director of Planning and Marketing. "This would result in a fare equalization - reducing fares for some riders and slightly increasing for others."

The current one-way cash fare ranges from $1.75 to $3.25 depending on the time of day and direction of travel. Under the proposal all weekday and weekend trips would cost $2.  The cost for a 10-ride pass would be $17. It's currently ranges from $16 to $27.  A 31-day pass would go from $95 to $70.

Trips from to and from Becker, currently $1.25, would drop to $1.

Fares on Route 887F, which provides mid-day service between St. Cloud, Becker and Northstar Stations between Big Lake and Minneapolis would not change. The fare would remain at $5.50 cash or $3.25 for station to station travel.

The public has until Friday to offer feedback on the proposal. If adopted, the new fare structure would go into effect on June 2.

Feedback may be shared vie email, US Postal Mail or by phone: info@catchthelink.com, 665 Franklin Ave NE, St. Cloud, MN  56304 or 1-877-546-5010.

Northstar Link is a commuter bus operated by St. Cloud's Metro Bus on behalf of the Northstar Corridor Development Authority and Stearns and Sherburne counties.

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