The introduction of the day bus pass system to Regional District of Nanaimo Transit buses last September has led to increased revenue, according to an RDN staff report.
The previous paper bus transfer system was discontinued Sept. 3, replaced by the sale of $5 day passes – as well as acceptance of one-way $2.50 cash fare – onboard buses. Brandon Miller, RDN superintendent of fleet and transit service delivery, said the main purpose of the switch was reducing driver-passenger disputes and abuse of fares, but between September and March, total revenues increased by four per cent. Cash revenues were up nine per cent and monthly pass revenues increased 10 per cent. That amounts to a cash revenue increase of approximately $64,000, a monthly pass increase of $84,625 and a total revenue increase of $102,800, according to Miller.
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The old system allowed for instances of people using expired transfers, whereas the new system has cut down on that and led to revenue, according to the report. It also said disputes between drivers and passengers are now to the “point of being non-existent.”
“I think we were just seeing so much abuse with the transfers, as far as fare fraud, so that was eliminated when we got rid of the transfer. Now it’s just starting to clean up that process,” Miller said.
While cash revenue was expected to rise, the report stated that the increase of monthly pass revenue was not expected. It attributes that to “transit users … seeing an increased value in purchasing and using a monthly pass, which helps to further increase revenue security and predictability along with increasing ridership.”
The RDN will next look at alternative payment options for transit users, but that would be down the road and is in very preliminary stages, according to Miller.
“Ideally like Compass Card (in Vancouver) or you go to Starbucks and you tap your phone, anything with mobile technology, that’s definitely where we want to head to for sure. It’s something we’re going to be looking into and are already looking into.”