Transit-fare sales up
Opponents feared a plan by the city to raise transit fares would lead to a drop in riders, but a review of the fare increase has indicated the opposite.
According to a city staff report, in the six months since fares were increased on April 1, sales of monthly passes for adult, student, senior and four-month student passes actually improved by 8.9 per cent, 0.7 per cent, 13.2 per cent 4.2 per cent, respectively, from 2010.
The report indicated 496 more adult monthly passes were sold during that time, bringing the number to 6,052.
BC Transit’s own numbers predicted a 4.3 per cent or 93,000-ride reduction with the new fares.
The biggest increase came from sheet sales for adults and seniors/students, which jumped by 29 per cent and 26 per cent, respectively.
However, sales of day passes did take a hit, with adult passes dropping 17 per cent and student passes falling by 26 per cent from the same time period in 2010.
In the spring, council approved a 10 per cent transit fare, which saw an adult cash fare jump to $2.25 from $2, while senior and student fares rose rise to $1.75 from $1.50.
The cost of monthly passes also increased, with an adult pass climbing up to $53 from $48.
It was the first increase in five years.
A new 60-minute flexible-transfer policy was also implemented which allows transit users to take more than one bus for a period of up to 60 minutes, including return trips.
The report suggested the decrease in day-pass sales is likely due to the new transfer policy and a shift by some customers to the monthly pass.
The report also noted the six-month review gives an indication of trends, but may not be a long enough study period to be conclusive.
The fare hike was also good for the city’s bottom line, as revenue increased by $60,712 to $474,117 for the six-month period.
Projects get cash
Two city infrastructure projects are getting some extra funding.
Council has approved spending $317,000 to replace five air-release valves on the force main located on Mission Flats Road and to replace the overhead lights at the Domtar pulp mill lift station.
In July, one of the existing release valves failed, resulting in a small amount of wastewater being discharged into the river.
Closer inspection revealed the other four valves were also in need of replacement to avoid further failures.
The cost to replace the valves is estimated to be $200,000.