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Transit Fares on the Rise

March 29th, 2010 @ 11:23am (PT) by Rebecca Bollwitt

When you head down to 7-Eleven Thursday morning to purchase your monthly transit fare card don’t be fooled — Translink’s fare hikes kick into effect April 1st bumping up pre-paid fares by at least 10%.


Photo credit: John Bollwitt on Flickr

I put a reminder out on Twitter and @reneestephen replied saying it now costs the same for her to buy a transit pass as it does to drive in and park at work. My mother will now be paying $151 a month for her 3-zone pass to commute downtown from Surrey each day. Even the Vancouver Sun asks if monthly fare cards are a “good deal”.

  • Faresaver tickets will go up about 11%
  • One-zone monthly passes go from $73 – $81
  • Two-zone from $99 to $110
  • Three-zone from $136 to $151
  • Concession passes for students and seniors $42 to $46.50
  • No change for cash fares
  • Many say there needs to be more of a crackdown on those who aren’t paying their fares. In 2009 I did a poll on my site where 77% of readers were in favour of turnstiles or gates at SkyTrain stations.

    Fare increases are never popular, especially when Translink has seen an increase in ridership (that was a theme with BC Ferries as well).

    The decision to raise prices on the fare cards, fare saver booklets and employer passes was made through public consultations last spring, said Drew Snider a spokesperson for TransLink. “The message we kept getting back was that they [public] wanted more transit, they were willing to pay for it,” Snider added. “At the end of the day there are so many ways you can ask people to pay for things.”

    Roughly $18 million will be generated from the fare increase, which was initiated because other options like fuel and property taxes have been utilized, he said. [Vancouver Courier]

    We’ve been teased by the free Olympic Line and given that they had over half a million riders on that small route alone in early 2010, it’s no secret that this city does love taking transit.

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    16 comments

    1. Andy Shen says:

      The fare increases were through a vote of the Mayors Council – composed of mayors in the Metro Vancouver.

      The fare increases are used to fund projects such as the Evergreen Line. It will also be used to improve services throughout the region.

    2. NYC_YVR says:

      what are we paying for? You are basically paying the same rate as NYC Transit,transit that runs 24/7. NOt sure why more people are not outraged by this

    3. Ian Bell says:

      I ride transit occasionally but often enough to care about its future. I also understand the contribution that public transit makes to a functioning economy.

      Transit here is atrociously poorly managed and we seem unable to fix it. We managed to retain a qualified CEO for.. what.. 16 months?

      People don’t want to drive drunk… they don’t want to sit in cages commuting every day. But our transit system has yet to produce a viable, comfortable, cost-effective alternative to these and many other issues.

      If we simply forced everyone riding transit to pay at the turnstyle rather than announcing and even holding press conferences to draw attention to the fact that fare payment isn’t being enforced we could A) ensure that ridership growth is self-supporting, and B) reduce the crime footprint that blooms around skytrain stations.

      It’s just so ridiculously obvious.

    4. Zeke says:

      if they are going to hike the rates, they really should extend the hours, at least on weekends! I can’t count the times that I or my friends found ourselves stranded at 2am because all this huge perminent expensive infrastructure isn’t running! There’s no excuse for closing down the skytrain as early as they do, it should run until 4 am every day!

    5. Grant says:

      TransLink increased service out in Langley, which makes it possible for me to take the bus to work now. And I can beat all driving times from my house to downtown Vancouver by taking bus and skytrain. It’s still worth it for me.

    6. tyler says:

      I don’t see why regular riders aren’t more outraged my this. We have all become numb to the regular “back loading system” that has taken place on accordion buses. How easy is it for anyone to get a free ride? Is this what we are paying for?
      I have been riding every day since the inception of the “transit police” and since then I have been checked 2 times! Is this really the best solution for our city or should we be cracking down on the little crimes taking place like fair-hoppers? My feeling is that this problem is quickly snowballing and if its not stopped soon, much bigger problems will follow and regular fair-paying riders will be paying for it.

    7. Sebastian Troen says:

      I agree with all the points made about improving our transit system, though I think the development of the Canada Line speaks volumes about efforts being made.

      I have heard that Translink is currently investigating various turnstile-type technologies to implement in the next few years, so this will happen… it’s just a matter of time.

      In the meantime, it would be great if they could run the trains all night long.

    8. Graeme says:

      As a daily transit user, the thing I don’t like about the hike is that there are many ways they could save a lot of money that they don’t seem to employ before hiking fares. One way would be to educate the bus drivers on more efficient driving. The majority of the bus drivers drive with a lead foot. They slam on the gas only to brake hard on the other side of the intersection for the bus stop. And this seems to continue whenever they start and stop. Not only would gradual acceleration save gas and therefore money, it would also make the ride much more comfortable for passengers.

    9. Jeanie says:

      I think the increase for 1-zone monthly passes is from $73 to $81?

    10. Paul says:

      Having traveled a fair bit around the world I have to say that the Vancouver transit system is a joke. I used it during the Olympics as it was somewhat convenient, though at times, due to the number of people, crowded. That was to be expected though.
      The big problem with transit, aside from the continual fee-hikes for sub standard service is the fact that, as a means of transport, for many people in the lower mainland it is not convenient or accessible. Poor planning has led to this. They need to build transit lines and then build the communities around the stations – which they have started to do with the Millenium Line. Our transit plan is too reactionary – in response to the urban sprawl that has happened and it is going to be unable to keep up in the future as well.
      I have to use my car for work – I would love to use transit or other forms of transportation but if I did use transit my commute would be lengthened from fifteen minutes to nearly forty minutes (with transfers etc.) and I am expected to pay increased fares for that?

    11. Drew Snider says:

      Drew Snider here from TransLink. Your readers might be interested to know that the question posed by the Vancouver Sun — and for which you added a link — was not a rhetorical one, but one that actually came with an answer: “yes”. Chad Skelton’s analysis found that if you only used monthly FareCards for the daily commute — to and from work, 5 days a week — and nothing else, your break-even point came at 17 days for a one-zone pass, and 16 days for the two- and three-zone passes — the same break-even point as before the increases. And, as Chad points out, that doesn’t take into account the increased savings from being able to use the FareCard as many times as you want.
      Note to Zeke: check the TransLink Trip Planner (www.translink.ca); it’s there so people can take responsibility and plan their partying so they don’t get stranded.

    12. 21 year old says:

      If they are hiking the prices they should be extending the hours. I cant believe they don’t have these trains running longer than they do – especially on weekends. Old bafoons need to stop making decisions for young people with lives outside the office, who do things at all hours of the day.

      I PETITION FOR LONGER WEEKEND HOURS – at least until the nightlife closes at 3am! If its security they’re worried about hire people who can actually defend themselves, not old men or straggly un-intimidating average Joes. Pay them more for what they do if they work 10pm to 3am.

    13. Lori K. says:

      I don’t drive. I have never owned a car in my life. I have no other choice but to pay the fare because, as a person with a disability, I don’t even have the option to walk or ride a bike.

      I’m also not disabled enough to get concession fares so I’m paying the whole $81. I can’t afford to move closer to where I work, either. The rents in that neighbourhood are double what I pay in NE Vancouver.

      When my husband is done school in a year or so we think we’ve got the stupid transit issue solved…

      We’re moving to Toronto. The transit is more expensive there, but the lower rents, food, and entertainment will more than make up that difference.

    14. nopay says:

      until they install turnstiles, paying just rewards poor planning and incompetence. Every other major metro in the world has turnstiles and it’s embarrassing that we just have an arbitrary line saying “pay now” and spend the money on man power for people to stand there watching. It’s ineffective and costs us more money.
      If enough people don’t pay, there’ll be more of a market based incentive to put in turnstiles. They’ll install the turnstiles and make more money. It’ll be a win win. I don’t believe the argument that they cost too much right now and will come eventually. Figure it out. I mean don’t get me wrong, the free rides are nice…

    15. Liz says:

      Here in Vancouver we have the most expensive transit system in North America and one of the worst. I’ve only lived in Vancouver and Toronto so only feel I can compare the two, so here goes:

      Vancouver – 101 million kilometres of coverage
      Toronto – 211.6 million kilometres of coverage

      Vancouver – $81-$151 for a monthly pass, must buy a $151 3-zone pass to travel anywhere on system at anytime
      Toronto – $121 for a monthly pass, good to travel on any part of the system at anytime ($111/month if you sign up for a year)

      Vancouver – $42 for ten 3-zone fare saver tickets each ticket allowing one trip anywhere on system at anytime ($4.20 one fare equivalent)
      Toronto – $25 for ten tokens each token allowing one trip anywhere on the system at anytime ($2.50 one fare equivalent)

      Vancouver – $9 day pass allowing travel anywhere on system for one day
      Toronto – $10 day pass allowing travel anywhere on system for one day

      To top it all off the frequency, delivery and coverage of service in Vancouver is poor at best. It takes me 40 minutes to travel 5.2 kms from a high traffic area (4th and Vine) to another high traffic area (Davie & Denman). It would take 7 minutes by car to travel the same route. And 40 minutes doesn’t account for the 15 minutes early TransLink suggests I arrive at my bus stop to ensure I catch my bus. (I’ve been told this is the recommendation when I’ve called to complain about buses leaving 5 minutes early from a stop).

      I’m not suggesting that Toronto has the best transit, just trying to show Vancouverites how poor our transit is and why it’s no surprise that so many people drive in this “green” city. (But don’t get me started on that…)

      We should also push our Federal government for transit funding.

    16. Just wanted to mention that I have a post about the fare hike over at the Buzzer blog too — there’s a fair bit of discussion in the comments that may be of interest.

      http://buzzer.translink.ca/index.php/2010/03/pre-paid-fares-increase-on-april-1/

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