Rising costs may see OC charge by length of bus trips

“It’s going to all add up to the point where people will choose their cars.”


The city’s solution to its long-term finances may include a significant hike in bus fares and the introduction of a “zone payment” system.

Increasing revenue so that fares cover 55 per cent of transit’s operating costs at a time when that figure is at 49 per cent and falling could mean fare hikes of up to five per cent every year until 2010, according to OC Transpo management.

That would add $10 million annually to the revenue stream under three different revenue generators that would be implemented: increasing fares by the rate of inflation (2 per cent); introducing a zone system that charges passengers more for longer trips (2 per cent); and introducing a fuel surcharge (1 per cent).

Dr. Helen Gault, the head of OC Transpo, said rising fuel and labour costs have put a strain on transit finances and that expanding suburban boundaries are producing longer bus trips that need to be offset by a payment structure that reflects the service provided.

“It is only an option but we are proposing a zone system that would reflect distance travelled,” she said.

But some councillors worry that such an increase in fares would reduce the number of riders.

“It’s going to all add up to the point where people will choose their cars,” said Coun. Diane Deans.

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