Tuesday, September 29, 2015

City proposes 2.5% fare increase for OC Transpo for next three years

According to a CTV Ottawa report, the City of Ottawa is proposing three more years of 2.5% fare increases for OC Transpo. Here is CTV's report:


Property taxes and water charges are also proposed to increase. The proposal still needs to be voted on by the city's Finance and Economic Development Committee and then full City Council. The fare increases would take place in 2016, 2017, and 2018.

This proposed increase is in keeping with fare hikes of recent history; although the fare increase was "just" 1.9% in 2014 (which just so happened to be an election year), it was 2.5% in 2015, 2013, 2012, a little higher than that in 2011, plus the incredible 7.5% fare hike of 2010.

It's worth noting that all of those increases have been by margins above the national rate of inflation. Add them all together and you get one clear reason why ridership has decreased every year since 2010 and appears to have--at best--stagnated at current levels.

This news, conveniently, comes just one week after I published an editorial in the Ottawa Citizen calling on OC Transpo to freeze fares for three years, while also offering promotions, in an attempt to stabilize the service and increase ridership. Given the ongoing disruption due to Confederation Line construction--which will get even worse when buses are rerouted from the western Transitway in December, just in time for winter snows--OC Transpo badly needs to work towards rider retention. Three more yearly increases of 2.5% certainly won't encourage those with a choice to continue using OC Transpo.

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