Due to an editing error, a story in yesterday's editions on Colonial Transit Company's proposed fare increases incorrectly included Sterling Park in the list of communities served by the bus company.
The trouble-plagued Colonial Transit Co., which daily delivers nearly 4,000 Northern Virginia commuters to Washington, has applied for fare increases of up to 100 percent beginning Sept. 10.
Colonial President Gary L. Penn said in an affidavit filed with the Interstate Commerce Commission that the bus company is operating under a "depresssed fare structure" and needs the increase to modernize and improve the aging fleet, as well as "provide reliable and dependable service."
"I realize (the size of the increase) is a tremendous shock," said Penn yesterday. "But bus companies waited too long to file for increases. We're finding we have not kept pace" with inflation and rising costs.
Colonial operates commuter service to Washington from Dale City, Lake Ridge, Occoquan, Triangle, Woodbridge, Sterling Park, Reston and Lake of the Woods near the company's base in Fredricksburg. A 10-ride pass for round-trips between Lake of the Woods and Washington, 75 miles each way, will increase from $21.75 to $42.20 if the ICC approves.
Dale City riders will pay $24.15 for 10 rides, up from the current rate of $12.45, and Woodbridge commuters will pay $24.45 for their 70-mile round trips, up from $12.60.
Colonial has been the subject of numerous complaints by its riders, protests that led to a recent ICC investigation.
The ICC cited both the age and condition of the buses, which have an average age of 17 years, and the problems in service, urging commuters seek alternative means of transportation, according to Penn's affidavit.
Penn cited the ICC report, as well as what he called "widespread adverse publicity and severe equipment problems," as contributing to Colonial's ridership losses. The number of daily commuters using the bus line has dropped from 7,200 last November to 3,800 Penn said.
The affidavit also pointed out that Colonial relies solely on fares for revenues and that in 1978, while its revenues were nearly $3.5 million, Colonial faced $3.4 million in operating costs.
Ted Pappas, chairman of the Prince William County Mass Transportation Committee, said yesterday that if the ICC and the Virginia State Corporation Commission approve, his committee will support the increase. "We support bus service for Prince William County commuters," he said.
Penn said yesterday that Colonial has exhausted all avenues of financial assistance or subsidy.Consequently, he has written to President Carter for help.
"If the president is really serious about doing something for mass transportation," he said, "he has the opportunity to do it in his own back yard."