By Abbott Dutton

SACRAMENTO (CBS13) — Sacramento Regional Transit is hearing from angry riders as it considers raising bus and light-rail fares to the most expensive rate in the nation.

The single-fare ticket for buses and light-rail would go from $2.50 to $3.

RT says it needs the money to stay out of the red, and it has lost money over the last two years.

Riders were understandably upset.

“You need to produce a comprehensive audit for every dime Regional Transit spends,” said Roger Blackwell.

The last rate increase came seven years ago. RT says it’s looking at a projected deficit over five years without the increase.

“We can’t continue to operate at a deficit,” said Sacramento City Councilman and agency chairman Jay Schenirer. “We’ve drawn down on our reserves for the last two years and we’re scheduled to go into the red the next two years as well.”

If the rate-hike is approved, Sacramento would have the most expensive transit tickets in the country—higher than New York’s prepaid ticket prices, and almost double what it costs in Los Angeles.

“When it comes to comparison to other transit agencies, it’s not an apple-to- apple comparison, so while it may be higher than other cities,” said spokeswoman Alane Masui. “But any increase is not a welcome increase.”

Some of the loudest criticism came from RT’s proposal to eliminate the paratransit monthly pass and increase paratransit single-ride rates—causing some to say people will have to choose between eating and going to see the doctor.

The plan is in its beginning stages, and a public comment period and five community workshops are planned.

RT is also planning to increase security and install more cameras at stations.