Transit fares to increase

Supporting the idea in principle but saying now wasn’t the right time, Coun. Surinderpal Rathor signalled he would not support council’s move to increase transit fares.

Supporting the idea in principle but saying now wasn’t the right time, Coun. Surinderpal Rathor signalled he would not support council’s move to increase transit fares.

“It’s long overdue, we need to raise this. But to me the time is not right,” Rathor told council Tuesday night.

Under the new fee structure adult fares will increase from $1 to $1.25; senior fares from 75 cents to $1; adult book tickets from 95 cents to $1.13; seniors/students book tickets from 70 to 90 cents and monthly passes for adults from $32 to $37; senior/student from $24 to $28; and handyDART from $1.50 to $1.75.

A staff report noted that there could be some concerns expressed from those with limited incomes but suggested the fares were “well below” the provincial average.

The fare increases are intended to “provide a balance between affordability and increased cost-effectiveness of the system,” according to that same report.

Coun. Natalie Hebert called the move a, “fair compromise.”

Coun. Tom Barr said,  “I think over the next few years we need to look at increasing it in gradual steps.”

The Williams Lake Transit service including handyDART has approximately 91,274 riders annually.

The service’s estimated revenue for 2010/2011 is $107,831 and the operating costs are $749,713.

The City’s share of the cost is $300,861.

The City’s share is collected through an annual tax levy.

In 2010, the cost to residential taxpayers for transit was $0.117 per $1,000 of assessed value.

Transit fares in other communities across B.C. for one-zone rides vary from a high of $2.50 to a low of $1.

Rathor further expressed concern over whether an increased rate would result in lower ridership thus decreasing overall revenue to operate the system.

Williams Lake Tribune

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