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It's probable that local mass-transit service will be reduced in June while the cost of fares and passes will increase.

Proposed changes to routes and fares were developed by Metropolitan Transit System (MTS) staff and publicized at a series of informational meetings held primarily at transit centers in February. The system's executive committee has approved the proposals with minor changes, and a final public hearing is set for March 12 at MTS headquarters on Imperial Avenue. Input from that hearing will be considered by the MTS board of directors before they make a final decision at a March 26 meeting.

Most changes would take effect in mid-June, one of the three times each year that bus and trolley operators have their "shake-ups" — when changes in driving assignments are made, based primarily on employment seniority. (The other “shake-ups” occur in September and January.)

Under consideration this time are the elimination of up to nine bus routes, dropping weekend service on six others, and changes to the routes and schedules of many others, along with changes to trolley schedules.

Also under consideration: increased rates for bus and trolley fares and daily and monthly transit passes; requiring trolley riders to have passes or tickets before boarding.

Another possibility may be more outsourcing of the system's security personnel. Some of the officers are employees of MTS with full police powers. Others are employees of private security agencies with limited powers to issue citations, similar to the city's parking-citation officers. (You need to look closely at the officer's uniform shoulder insignia to distinguish the difference.)

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