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Bus fares to jump by 25 cents across the board in Nelson

Nelson Daily Editor
By Nelson Daily Editor
April 19th, 2011

By Timothy Schafer, The Nelson Daily

In order to address a $128,000 budget shortfall in city transit a fare increase of 25 cents to $2 for an adult ticket has been approved to help cover the cost.

The last transit rate increased in 2008 but in 2010 the City’s transit revenues decreased by 10 per cent, resulting, in part, to the budget shortfall.

For the City to generate the revenue projected to pay for the service and not increase taxes, however, City council approved the 25 cent fare increase for each rate class, and a proportional rate increase for monthly and multi-ride passes.

The increased revenue from the rate change will bring in an extra $24,000 per year — with $15,000 prorated for 2011. The move also “simplifies” zone structure with the outlying rural areas and equalizes the rates.

The bottom line is raising fares will not cover the shortfall in transit, said Mayor John Dooley in an earlier interview.

Sunday routes and evenings are not working and need to be cut, he added, and there is a huge drop off in the summer when the majority of the users — high school students — aren’t using the bus.

There has to be a common sense approach to how the service is delivered, he said.

“We know from our own statistics, that every night from 6-11 p.m., we only move on average six people,” Mayor Dooley said.

“That’s not logical. It’s not common sense. It’s not meeting our targets of sustainability. It’s definitely not reducing greenhouse gas emissions and clearly people are not going out, and if they are, they are not using transit.”

The City had $120,000 in operating losses with their transit last year. People weren’t riding the buses in non-peak times, and the new buses the City received in 2010 cost more to service than was anticipated. Transit costs were up 47 per cent.

Debt servicing of the new buses, low ridership in some periods and increased fuel consumption meant there were “a lot of additional costs there that we did not count on when we accepted delivery of those new buses,” Mayor Dooley said.

Categories: General

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