Overall, the proposed changes to transit operations in Kamloops, which went before council on Tuesday afternoon, were positive.
Any regular transit user would welcome less expensive monthly and day passes, as proposed in the report council perused. But there was one other proposed change that rankled some people — the elimination of transfers.
With transfers, a rider pays $2 and receives a slip of paper that allowed the user to transfer to other buses for a period of 60 minutes. With the elimination of transfers, as has been suggested, the cost of making any trip that requires more than one bus to get to a destination doubled — to $4 from $2.
For example, a transit user in Valleyview who needed to get to Aberdeen would pay $2 to take the bus to the downtown exchange, then another $2 to jump on a second bus going to Aberdeen. It would also affect users who need to take a bus to and from a grocery store, with the trip also doubling in cost.
The reason for the proposed changes is to have the local transit system aligned with what is happening in BC Transit systems elsewhere in the province so that, once a new pay system is introduced alongside cash fares — likely involving an app that will allow users to tap their smartphone card that can be swiped or tapped — it can be implemented in multiple cities as seamlessly as possible.
For anybody who uses transit for more than 60 minutes in a day, the propose changes are all positive; for those who simply use the bus to get somewhere and have another ride back, or those using transit for fewer than 60 minutes a day, the changes are less than positive.
The report to council said ditching transfers in Victoria and Nanaimo has reduced fare fraud and has essentially eliminated confrontations between drivers and passengers trying to use expired transfer slips.
However, one would think BC Transit could devise a way to continue the transfer system and include it with the smartphone app expected to be online within two years. After all, if increased ridership is the goal, expanding options, not eliminating them, would seem to be the smart move.