Wednesday, March 10, 2010

OC Transpo fare hikes: It could be worse

Users of OC Transpo are now dealing with the most recent fare hike for the service, an average increase of 7.5 per cent for cash, tickets, and passes. It's the second fare hike since July 1, 2009, which city councillors say is a move towards recovering 50 per cent of transit costs from users to balance out the other half from taxpayers.

From the Ottawa Citizen:
Councillor Alex Cullen, chair of city council’s transit committee, said by phone Monday that the fee hike moves the transit system toward a city council goal of having it funding half by property taxes, half by rider fares.

He said the taxpayers’ share is necessary because even people who don’t use public transit benefit from it, citing less road congestion and pollution as examples. Cullen also said investing in transit is much less expensive than the alternative — more roads and road maintenance for more cars.
Not to say that the OC Transpo fare hike isn't significant for users of our local service, it's nothing like the 25 per cent fare increase for NJ Transit; a hike that's coupled with service cuts, to boot. Executives with NJ Transit said the hikes and cuts were necessary due to the "hard economic times" lowering state and federal transit subsidies.


The 25-percent proposed increase would be the highest in the 30-year history of NJ Transit, the nation’s third largest public transit system. Other increases over the years, including the last one in 2007, have been in the 10 percent range.

"We recognize that any increase is a burden for our customers, particularly during a recession," [NJ Transit executive director Jim] Weinstein said. "However, we have worked to keep local bus fares below the regional average and preserved some important discounts for seniors and people with disabilities, as well as for students and others who are among the most transit dependent."

He said that with a reduced state subsidy of $33 million, the loss of $150 million in one-time federal stimulus money, a 4-percent decrease in ridership due to the economic downturn and contract obligations, there was no choice but to raise fares.
So... not many are happy about the 7.5 per cent OC Transpo fare hike, but at least we can be happy we're not dealing with the 25 per cent fare hike down in New Jersey.


Wallace said...

So when will the City of Ottawa begin applying the same 50% cost recovery rule to road users? Why is no one talking seriously about a congestion charge in this city?

Dean said...

But you also need to consider the personal financial cost of last years strike. You add that into the mix and the last year has being very expensive for riders.

Dwight Williams said...

If we do adopt the congestion charge, the New Conservative supporters are going to start adopting their Toronto counterparts' chorus of "War Against the Car™". Guaranteed.

Not to say that it shouldn't be adopted anyway...

Kendrew said...

Where would the congestion charge be located? Most of downtown is traffic free outside of rush hour, and even during rush hour there isn't much traffic except on the 417.