Starting Aug. 1, seniors and those with disabilities will need to show proof they are eligible to pay a discounted fare on the city of Lodi's buses.
The program will include both the GrapeLine fixed routes and Dial-A-Ride. There are five forms of identification the city will accept on the bus, or people can apply in advance for a "City of Lodi GrapeLine Discount ID" card.
Transportation planner Julia Tyack said the city is starting the program to make sure passengers are paying the correct fare, which is in line with federal transit regulations.
In the past, fraud has also been committed on the buses because drivers have never required proof, she said.
The city has flyers and applications for the discount ID cards on all of its buses, and drivers are encouraging people who qualify to make sure they are ready for the transition, she said.
There will be a one-month grace period before the city will start enforcing the card requirement for a discounted rate on Sept. 1, Tyack said.
Acceptable forms of ID for discount fares include:
- A Medicare card.
- A DMV senior citizen ID, which is different than a driver's license.
- A senior ID or disabled ID from another transit agency.
- A city of Lodi VineLine Americans with Disabilities Act certified ID card.
Passengers will be able to show these cards to a driver to receive the discount, Tyack said. A photo ID is also necessary when people have cards without pictures on them, like the Medicare cards.
The city is requiring a DMV senior citizen ID as opposed to a driver's license because it says "senior citizen" across the top, which will be easier for bus drivers.
"We are specifically looking for senior citizen ID so the drivers don't have to do any mental math while they are trying to get everyone on board," Tyack said.
If people do not want to carry one of the IDs up above, they can fill out applications for a city-issued discount card.
For a senior discount card, people need to send in or bring in the application as well as one of the following documents:
- A current SSI award letter.
- A driver's license.
- A valid state ID.
- A birth certificate.
- A passport.
For a disabled discount card, people need to send in or bring in the application and one of the following documents:
- A current SSI/SSDI award letter.
- A valid California Department of Motor Vehicles placard receipt showing expiration date.
- A Department of Veterans Service Connected ID.
- A certification form for People with Disabilities (which is included in the discount card application).
Since the city has been informing passengers, Tyack said her department has issued 50 senior citizen discount cards and 20 disabled discount cards.
"People have already been showing them to the drivers to get in the habit of doing things," Tyack said. "Drivers are doing a great job of getting the information out to the passengers boarding the buses."
Some customers worried there would be a change in fares, she said.
"There is no change in fares, but we do need people to prove they are able to pay a discounted fare before they pay it," Tyack said.
City staff plans to hand out flyers to customers, ride the buses to let people know about the change, and work with care homes, senior centers and programs for people with disabilities to make sure everyone is aware of the requirement, Tyack said.
"It will probably take people a while to get used to the system, but we really needed to have a program. It makes it really black and white. There's no room for doubt," she said.