(a) Fares and fare collection systems shall be established and administered to accomplish the following purposes:
(1) to encourage and increase transit and paratransit ridership with an emphasis on regular ridership;
(2) to restrain increases in the average operating subsidy per passenger;
(3) to ensure that no riders on any route pay more in fares than the average cost of providing the service on that route;
(4) to ensure that operating revenues are proportioned to the cost of providing the service so as to reduce any disparity in the subsidy per passenger on routes in the transit system; and
(5) to implement the social fares as set forth in subdivision 2b.
(b) The plan must contain a statement of the policies that will govern the imposition of user charges for various types of transit service and the policies that will govern decisions by the council to change fare policy.
The council shall establish and enforce uniform fare policies for regular route transit in the metropolitan area. The policies must be consistent with the requirements of this section and the council's transportation policy plan. The council and other operators shall charge a base fare and any surcharges for peak hours and distance of service in accordance with the council's fares policies. The council shall approve all fare schedules.
For the purposes of raising revenue for improving public safety on transit vehicles and at transit hubs or stops, the council shall review and may adjust its social fares as they relate to passengers under the age of 18 during high crime times provided that the increased revenues are dedicated to improving the safety of all passengers.
The council and other operators may charge a reduced fare for service on any route providing circulation service in a downtown area or community activity center. The council and other operators shall not contribute more than 50 percent of the operating deficit of any such route that is confined to a downtown area or community activity center. The boundaries of service districts eligible for reduced fares under this subdivision must be approved by the council.
The council may offer monthly passes for regular route bus service for sale to the general public.
The council may offer passes for regular route bus service for sale to employers at a special discount.
The council may offer passes, including tokens, for regular route bus service for sale to charitable organizations, described in section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code, at a special discount.
(a) The council may offer passes, including tokens, for regular route bus service to charitable organizations, described in section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code, free of charge. Any passes provided under this subdivision must be:
(1) distributed to and used solely by a person who is under 16 years of age; and
(2) restricted to use on a bus that is not operating at full capacity at the time of use of the bus pass.
(a) On and after July 1, 2009, the council shall provide regular route transit, as defined in section 473.385, subdivision 1, free of charge for veterans, as defined in section 197.447, certified as disabled. For purposes of this section, "certified as disabled" means certified in writing by the United States Department of Veterans Affairs or the state commissioner of veterans affairs as having a permanent service-connected disability.
(b) The requirements under this subdivision apply to operators of regular route transit (1) receiving financial assistance under section 473.388, or (2) operating under section 473.405, subdivision 12.