Tallahassee Reports, through a public records request, has determined that StarMetro ridership has declined 22% from 2010-2015. During this same time period the subsidies provided to StarMetro by City of Tallahassee taxpayers has increased by 27%.
Ridership was down from 4.71 million people in 2010 to 3.66 million in 2015. These ridership numbers include both City passengers and University passengers. Both categories declined during the five-year period. University riders declined 17% while City passengers declined 27%.
During this same time period, the subsidies provided by taxpayers has increased from approximately $7.9 million in 2010 to approximately $10 million in 2015.
The subsidies are transferred annually from the General Fund, which is supported by property taxes, sales taxes, and utility taxes.
Recently the City of Tallahassee began using revenues collected from the Gasoline Tax to fund StarMetro operations. Since 2014 approximately $2.3 million in Gas Tax revenue has been transferred to StarMetro.
This means over the last three years, approximately $6.9 million has been removed from road paving, road maintenance and sidewalk projects to support StarMetro.
Various citizens groups, who are actively engaged with evaluating the City’s spending priorities, have raised concerns about StarMetro’s role in the need for the recent property tax increase and the lack of concern by City staff with StarMetro’s operational efficiency.
The City will present the FY2017 budget on June 2oth. TR will report on how the City deals with StarMetro funding when the information becomes available.