Friday, January 16, 2009

Can the U-Pass rise from the ashes?

TransitOttawa.ca will temporarily engage in some transit-related speculation concerning potentially lower post-strike ridership and its potential consequences for a Universal Bus Pass for students in the city:

Depending on the reaction of traditional transit users to the bus strike, the City might have to deal with lower ridership for some period of time when service resumes.

The City is arguably "saving" money during the strike. Some estimates suggest that each week, $3 million is saved by OC Transpo, which doesn't have to pay various transit-related costs (salary, for one). While it's hard to know exactly how much the City is "saving", given some spending on mitigation measures and other strike-related costs, there could be some money in the pot.

Council rejected the Universal Bus Pass for students at the student-approved price of $125, and instead went for a $194 pass. At the time, OC Transpo claimed that a $125 pass would generate $2.1-million in revenue that the City could not afford to cover.

The City has already endorsed a 10-point plan to bring riders back, but there are obviously no guarantees that those perks will result in stable ridership.

Student leaders have often stressed that a U-Pass would provide stability for OC Transpo, even if only for a one-year pilot project.

Before the strike, ridership was at an all-time high and the need for such stability was less urgent. Now times have changed.

Could councillors be convinced that a cheaper U-Pass is worth the cost, given the benefits that students are promising in a time of potentially lower ridership? Are students' promises realistic?

(Kudos to commenter Rob who already mentioned this on an earlier post today.)

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

The "perks" could include hot lemon towels and blowjobs in the priority seating area, and there will still be many of my co-workers who are NOT going back to OC Transpo.

jON said...

The u-pass is definitely a good option right now. Last time there was a transit strike, the freebies given to transit riders only increased ridership until the freebies were gone. A u-pass lasts for an entire year so ridership wouldn't drop off again as soon as the freebies are gone.