I support public transit and recognize that it must be subsidized just as we subsidize the provision of roads and streets for those of us who drive. It’s great that we offer a bus service from Okanagan College to UBCO but I find the level of subsidy to be excessive. I think riders need to bear more of the cost of the service.
As reported in The Morning Star, each Okanagan College to UBCO bus has a $240,000 annual subsidy with half coming from local taxpayers and half from provincial taxpayers via BC Transit. We are told these buses are jam packed and riders are being left behind but everyone is reluctant to cough up another $240,000 per annum subsidy for another bus.
Let’s assume a packed bus holds 60 riders with as many standees as it can cram in. We are told each bus makes four trips per day so that’s 240 riders per bus each day, 1,200 per five-day week, 4,800 per month or 38,400 over an eight-month school year.
So, using these as illustrative numbers, simple arithmetic shows that a $6.25 increase per one-way trip could eliminate the annual $240,000 per bus subsidy in its entirety. Well, we all know that is too much of an increase and is not going to happen. But, it shows the revenue generating power of a fare increase that is spread over a lot of riders.
Yes, these are not substantiated ridership numbers but they suffice to clearly show that elected officials need to sharpen their pencils and revisit the bus issue. The existing $240,000 annual public subsidy per bus is exorbitantly unfair to taxpayers.
The need for a fare increase should be obvious. Unfortunately, we seem to lack a quorum of elected officials capable of keeping taxpayers from being gouged.