We are family: Transit-fare options increased
Transit users in Kamloops first got the stick — now comes the carrot.
City council has approved a recommendation by staff to implement a family travel pass program for the transit system.
It will allow a parent to bring up to four children — under the age of 12 — — aboard a bus with no additional fare.
The new program will take effect on April 1, but the pass will only be available to parents or guardians with a monthly bus pass.
The city is hoping the program will provide an incentive for transit users who use cash fares to buy a long-term pass.
A handful of city councillors also suggested a similar deal should be available for single-fare riders, putting forward an amendment to the program, but it failed in a close 4-4 vote.
Marg Spina argued some single parents may not have enough cash to buy a monthly pass, noting the change would still allow them to use the bus and take their kids where they need to go.
Tina Lange said most single-fare users will discover they are better off by purchasing the monthly pass.
“I don’t think we lose by including the family travel pass program with single fares,” she said.
Nancy Bepple and Denis Walsh also voted in favour of extending the program to cash fares.
But Mayor Peter Milobar wasn’t convinced.
“I’m hesitant for us to start to tweak things on the fly,” he said, adding he wondered why council bothers to ask staff to do the work in the first place.
A report on the program noted there wasn’t data available to estimate the number of users who may take advantage of the program.
Two weeks ago, council approved a transit fare hike set to take effect on April 1. The increase means an adult cash fare will jump to $2.25 from $2, while senior and student fares will rise to $1.75 from $1.50.
Monthly passes will also see similar increases, with an adult pass set to cost $53, up from $48. It’s the first increase to transit fares in five years.
The fare increase will generate an estimated $172,000 in extra revenue in 2011 and $232,219 the following years, but could result in a four per cent decline in ridership.