Transit fare increases of 2-8% proposed

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Community Services Committee, Tues. Dec. 16, 1pm, City Hall; Council, Thurs. Dec. 18, 6:30pm

City staff are recommending several transit fare increases effective April 1, 2015. The proposed increase is part of aRates & Fees Increases Report that will be discussed by the Community Services Committee Dec. 16, 1pm, at City Hall.

Cash fares for adults, seniors and students are recommended to go from $3.25 to $3.50, an 8% increase. Monthly passes and 10-ticket, or bulk prices, are proposed to go up 2-3% in all categories (seniors, student, adult).

Cash fares for children (12 years and under) are proposed to go from $1.90 to $3.50 to match the adult cash rate, an 84% increase.

The rate increases are intended to encourage the use of Presto and discourage the use of cash by aligning the cash fare to $3.50 for all cash users including adults, students, seniors and children.

Presto card users receive discounted prices per ride. The adult fare is $2.70; senior and student fare is $1.85. No increases are proposed for these rates.

However, staff recommends increasing the child fare rate for Presto Card users from $ 1.55 to $ 1.85 for a single ride – a 20% increase. This increase will align the fares so that seniors, students and child fares are the same on the Presto card.

The student bulk rate to both the Halton District School Board and the Halton Catholic District School Board is increasing from $43 to $48 per student pass.

Downtown Parking Fees

No increases are proposed to the hourly, daily or monthly permit fees for downtown parking. However, two parking lots will be shifting to the higher monthly permit rate. Monthly permits are sold at $83 for lots further from Brant Street, and $132 for lots closer to Brant Street. The Pearl Street lot, abutting Village Square, and the Martha Street lot are sold at the $83 rate. However, staff are proposing that those lots be treated as premium lots and charged at the $132 rate. The proposal accounts for the significant demand for space in this area, and the fact that the lot across the street from Pearl is already at the $132 rate.

Other fee increases

Staff are recommending a range of increases for a variety of services, ranging from 0-19%, with the average being 2%. The majority of the proposed rates and fees adjustments reflect inflationary increases and also align with market analysis, including comparison to neighbouring municipalities.

At this time, the 2015 revenue impact arising from all of the proposed fee increases and volume changes, is estimated to be $ 456,000 or 1.5% compared to the 2014 Budget.


Read the full list of proposed rates and fees here: Rates & Fees 2015

My Take: I do not support a transit fare increase for cash and bulk tickets at this time. As a regular transit user in a family where each of us has a Presto card, I still believe that people who use transit infrequently and don’t have a Presto card should not be penalized by a higher fare for using cash. Many of our most vulnerable residents with limited income take the bus, and have no other transportation option. Though there are transit fare subsidies through Halton Region to cover half the overall fare, it is still expensive for some individuals and families purchasing multiple passes and fares. Investing in transit is one of the ways we make our city more inclusive to residents, allowing them to live independently and fully participate in civic life, programs and events without transportation posing a barrier.

Regarding the other rates and fee increases, I am concerned about the 5-7% surcharge on top of the inflationary increases, and will be seeking more information about the impact on user groups before voting.

Your Take: Do you support a transit fare increase? Increases in other rates and fees? Leave a comment below.

Written by Marianne Meed Ward

A Better Burlington began in 2006 after my neighbours said they felt left out of city decisions, learning about them only after they’d been made.

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  1. Oakville Transit didn’t raise their fares to $3.50 until they fully eliminated their transit tickets (with the exception of seniors). All tickets should be eliminated by the beginning on September and no longer accepted by December 31st, 2015. Keep cash and PRESTO fares the way they are and then increase fares in the 2016 Budget process. Perhaps this issue should be raised again during the budget and voted on with the compromise of increasing fares in 2016. AFTER the proposed 2015 transit investment kicks in.

  2. Increasing transit fares to promote Presto use, makes no sense whatsoever. I am sure frequent users already know about Presto and will make use of the card, if it makes economic sense. Any increase in public service rates above the rate of inflation, should be accompanied by an equivalent level of justification. Where is the study that correlates increased fares to greater Presto usage? Will the new rates discourage would be or occasional transit users and what impact might that have on revenue and ridership?

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