Transit fares are going up in April.
City council approved rate changes last week that will bring transit prices up to par with other communities.
Drew Hadfield, the city’s transportation manager, said a fare increase has been a long time coming.
“The service has not had a review or adjustment in the fares for this service since 2004,” Hadfield said. “Typically, a fare review is undertaken every three-to-four years; therefore a fare increase is long overdue.”
The city provides bus service in conjunction with BC Transit and Hadfield said Campbell River’s public transit performs at a high level compared to other transit services in similar sized B.C. communities.
As of April 2, a one-zone ticket for an adult will cost $2, as opposed to the current $1.75. For seniors and youth (up to Grade 12) one zone will be $1.75, while the “children ride free program” will be extended to include kids up to age six.
HandyDART fares will increase to $2.50, from $2 while children up to age six and attendants will be able to ride for free.
“In general, the Campbell River Transit System’s fares…are simply just on the low side when compared with its peers,” said Hadfield
For example, in Nanaimo and on the Sunshine Coast, an adult cash fare is $2.25 while in Victoria, Mt. Waddington (North Island) and Powell River adult fares are $2.50.
Under the new rate structure, the city also plans to eliminate the two-zone fare. Hadfield said the $2 flat fee translates to a fare increase of $.25 for approximately 89 per cent of riders who travel within one zone, and has no effect on the 11 per cent of riders who travel across two zones.
“By eliminating the two-zone fare system and offering a flat fare price across the Campbell River Transit System, the fare structure will become a lot more user-friendly and may encourage more ridership in and out of the southern region of the city,” Hadfield said.
Ron Neufeld, the city’s manager of operations, said the fare increase is expected to generate an additional $50,000-$60,000.
Hadfield acknowledged it’s possible raising the rates could cause a drop in ridership, but said there are a few strategies that can be used to reduce that risk.
He said transit could promise future service increases or improvements to justify the fare increases.