WeGo officials withdraw plans for fare increases except for evenings

Starting Friday, Sept. 1, the cost of Gainesville’s WeGo rides taken after 6:30 p.m. will increase from $2 to $4 for the first 5 miles but previously announced plans to increase fares at other times of the day have been shelved.

WeGo provides on-demand vanpool service to residents and visitors seeking rides to and from destinations in Gainesville-Hall County. Since the City of Gainesville, specifically Hall Area Transit (HAT), expanded WeGo in July 2021 from operating only within city limits to all of Hall County, data shows 90% of passengers pay the minimal fee of just $2 for rides 5 miles and under.

“As a public transit agency, we want to offset our cost with farebox revenue, but we don’t want to do so at the risk of harming transit-dependent individuals,” said Community Service Center Director Phillippa Lewis Moss, who oversees HAT.

Moss added that some 5.1% of Hall County households don’t have a vehicle and depend on public transit services such as WeGo. HAT hopes that upping the base evening fare will help reserve more rides for customers who don’t have access to other means of transportation.

The decision by the City through HAT to increase the evening fare comes after a series of successful public hearings and a month-long advertising push communicating the fare increase via media coverage, posted notices, social media, email blasts, etc.

In addition to increasing the base evening fare, Moss originally proposed upping the cost of each additional mile traveled beyond the first 5 miles from 50 cents to $1. However, given client feedback during the public hearing process, she decided against it.

Moss stated in June 2023 the demand for WeGo service has continued to rise since launching in December 2020, evidenced by HAT witnessing its highest ridership number ever the week of June 9, when the system tallied 2,200 completed trips.

“The City credits this astounding success to the recent hiring and training of 10 new vehicle operators this summer, who are helping make WeGo accessible to even more customers during operating hours,” she said.

HAT has remained open and honest about its past struggles to meet demand, mainly due to difficulty hiring reliable and qualified drivers.

Learn more about WeGo, including hours of operation and how to book a ride, here WeGo | Gainesville, GA