Harry Ratzky is protesting the decision to raise rates for rides on the Valley County Transit buses. He told the Valley County Commissioners on Tuesday that he believes the increase is in violation of the Montana Civil Rights Act and probably the federal Civil Rights Act, because he has protected status as a senior and a person with a low income.
The rate increase, announced May 29 in The Courier, is the first since 1997 and is to go into effect July 1. All rides in Glasgow will cost $1. The fare for seniors and children is currently 75 cents. Regular monthly passes will increase from $35 to $40, while passes for seniors and children will rise from $25 to $40.
This is disparate treatment of seniors and children, Ratzky said.
He also complained that no notice of the rate change was posted on buses or on the county bulletin board. The only notice was the article in The Courier. He claimed that it is contrary to Federal Transit Administration procedure to have no public input and no 30-day period for public comment.
“I am personally not against the raise, but I don’t want the whole raise dumped on me and my class,” Ratzky said.
County Commissioner Dave Pippin said the Transit Board makes these decisions. The commission was informed and didn’t have a problem with it. He said the commission will take the matter under advisement.
In other business, the commissioners approved the purchase of six motor graders, trading in six they have now. They approved TransCanada’s right of way applications for road crossings.
Nancy Hamilton has been hired as the safety coordinator for four northeast Montana counties.