Friday, June 15, 2001

Fuel-dependent businesses turning to surcharges

By Randy Tucker
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        Gas prices have taken a 10-cents-a-gallon or more dip this week, but surcharges added to everything from bus tickets to wine delivery are beginning to crop up anyway.

        Metro said it will ask Cincinnati City Council to approve a temporary surcharge that would add 25 cents to all bus routes longer than 20 miles one-way - and a 30-cent surcharge for its most distant routes.

Roundup of Tristate gas prices
        The surcharge could go into effect as early as Sept. 4.

        Gas cost $1.544 a gallon in Cincinnati Thursday, according to AAA.

        Paul Jablonski, Metro's general manager, said that dip probably won't last long enough to relieve Metro's current energy bills.

        Even if a fare hike is approved, Metro is still projecting a $43,000 operating deficit this year because of high gas prices, which climbed to $1.790 on May 13 in Cincinnati.

        Other fuel-dependent businesses also aren't waiting to charge more:

        • Rumpke has added a 2 percent surcharge. “We've experienced about a 40 percent increase in fuel prices throughout the past year,” said Amanda Wilson of Rumpke.

        • Relay Express, a courier-messenger service in Fairfield, raised prices 3 to 4 percent after a 5 percent increase in fuel costs in the last year.

        • The Wine Merchant in Hyde Park hiked its delivery price from $3 to $5 in Hamilton County and from $3.75 to $6 outside the county.


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