Palm Springs, CA
Patrick Ian splits his time between Los Angeles and Palm Springs. When he’s in town, the Buzz bus is his main ride.
"When it’s running, I ride five times a day," Ian said.
Right now the Buzz bus runs Thursday through Sunday from 11 am to 1 am, every fifteen minutes.
Ian said the best part about taking the Buzz is that it is free and fun.
"On a Friday or Saturday night, it is the party bus."
But there’s a cost to keep the party rolling.
The Buzz bus costs about $1.1 million dollars every year. About 235,000 people ride the Buzz annually, which comes out to about $4.60 per person. The majority of the funds for the Buzz bus come out of the Measure J sales tax. PS Resorts pays $100,000 of the Buzz bus’ annual cost.
"We really really do need to find a way to off set some of the costs because right now taxpayers are paying for that," said Palm Springs Mayor Robert Moon.
In a recent city council meeting, Mayor Moon threw out the idea of charging riders even a dollar. He also admitted there are free Buzz bus benefits.
"There are side benefits because it helps tourism," Mayor Moon added, "It also cuts down people who are drinking and driving."
The idea of paying a buck for the Buzz doesn’t still well with some riders.
"For a dollar, that’s the same as the actual city bus, so I don’t think they should charge for the Buzz at all," said local resident Bobbie Arce.
Businesses downtown said they would be affected if the Buzz started charging riders.
"I can say 45-50% of our people use the bus especially at night time," said Jose Martin, the manager at Kalura Trattoria. "They come here they eat, and have a couple drinks and they don’t want to drive."
"I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard tourists say, ‘This is so friendly and nice of the City, and I think it would take away that welcoming feeling,’" Ian added about why he doesn’t want the city to charge riders.
The city hasn’t made any decisions yet, so hopping on the Buzz bus is still free.