Utica, NY (WIBX) - Riders of Centro bus service may soon be paying more. The company is proposing an increase of 25-cents per rider to cover a nearly $5 million dollar budget deficit.

Centro is proposing route and fare changes in all four counties it serves, including Oneida County.

In addition to a hike, Centro is proposing two route changes in Utica: Route 27 Leland will be discontinued and 25 Sunset will be discontinued with portions covered by Route 30-Genesee-Clinton.

Executive Director Frank Kobliski says Centro has had deficits between $4 million and $7 million dollars for the last several years and has cut staff and used reserves to make up the difference.

He says cuts in state assistance and a mortgage recording tax have dwindled.

"In any given year we may be four or five million dollars short in those two areas alone. This has been going on since 2008."

However, there is some good news for passengers in Rome who have been charged when transfering to another bus. That fee will be going away.

"To make Rome consistent with all of our fare policies through the four counties, while you would pay an extra 25-cents, you would pay anything extra to get on the second bus. So, in may cases it will actually save folks money," Kobliski said.

A public hearing will be held in each city next month. In Utica, the hearing is scheduled for Thursday, March 10th, from 5-7 p.m. at the Radisson Hotel. In Rome, the hearing will take by the following Thursday, March 17th,  from 5-7 p.m. in the Rome Common Council Chambers at City Hall.

New Fare Structure Proposed By Centro