Bus fares will increase Feb. 1 from 50 cents to 65 cents for a single adult ride and pass prices will go up to $24 on March 1, the Utah Transit Authority said.

The UTA board approved the rate increases Wednesday to cover a rise in fuel costs and to finance some additional service.The rate increase came after several weeks of public hearings on the proposed fare hike. UTA assistant general manager John Inglish said there were those at the hearings who opposed the increase, but the overall consensus was higher fares aren't bad if service improves.

"My recommendation (to the board) was to increase the fares to 60 cents, but the board felt the full 65 cents was necessary to improve service," Inglish said. "Even at 65 cents, it is still one of the lowest fares in the country."

The national average is 67 cents and UTA's last fare increase was in 1981.

Inglish said his recommendation was based on fuel prices falling from a high of $1.10 per gallon to around 70 cents today. UTA initially proposed raising fares when diesel fuel prices doubled after troubles hit the Persian Gulf.

Fares for the elderly and disabled will rise from 25 cents to 30 cents and monthly passes will rise from $9 to $10.

Premium-express fares will go up 25 cents to $1.50, worker service to 75 cents from 60 cents and Flextrans to 65 cents from 50 cents.

Premium and express monthly passes will be $60, up from $50, and college students and minors will pay $15. Quarterly adult passes will be $72, up from $54, and the weekly adult pass will be $6.50.