To the editor: Gwinnett Transit punishing its customers with fare increases

Here is my take on the proposed fare increase "strategy" offered up by Gwinnett County Transit:

· Penalize your best customers: Use the Xpress commuters to subsidize the balance of the system.

· Three-zone pricing: Eliminate any tax-free advantage while giving riders no chance to adjust their budgets. GCT is already the highest Xpress commuter service and its riders still consistently stand on converted transit buses.

· Discouraging young ridership through the fare changes. Studies show that mass transit usage is best developed at a young age. GCT apparently does not subscribe to that theory since they are eliminating the youth rider discount.

· Penalizing mothers with young children. The elimination of the free fare for kids younger than 5 years old is absolutely disgraceful. I can only think of the single mom with a small child that uses public transit to get to the store now being forced to pay for her child to go with her. Whoever came up with this idea needs to go ride the local routes and get out of his car.

The effects of all of GCT proposals: Alienating your best customers, making service less convenient for users, not developing product use in younger consumers and not considering the financial impact on your customers.

All of this flies in the face of proven business methodology. GCT needs to re-examine its way of business and re-think its strategy if it wants to develop a more effective long-term business model for the county.

- David Gruber