Possible transit fare changes

Transit fares could be lowered for low-income residents in the City.

Council will consider a report on May 2 regarding the issue.

“During the election campaign all of us heard at different forum opportunities that there is a need to address transit ridership fees for low-income citizens,” said Councillor Cindy Jefferies.

Council has previously looked at the issue of low-income residents trying to pay for transit but have been cautious because there are so many categories of people in the community who may be eligible for a reduced transit rate.

The request from council was for a report to be made regarding options and possibilities but has not yet been completed. The report is to be presented at the May 2 council meeting.

“We often talk about one income families and I think there are lots of people in our community who would fall into a similar category so we should be looking at other citizens as well,” said Jefferies.

Currently, the two categories that had been looked at included AISH recipients as well as low-income seniors.

The question now is how the lower transit rates can be provided to citizens and what criteria they may need to meet in order to be considered for the reduced rate.

“Regardless of your lot in life if affordability is an issue then we need to make sure we’re looking after the concerns of all of our citizens,” said Councillor Tara Veer.

The report is expected to explore some of the benefits and challenges of providing the lower transit rates and how the program might work.

Red Deer City transit fares currently sit at $2.25 for an adult, $1.95 for a youth, student, or senior. While tickets can be bought in packs or monthly passes, the prices still range from $20 to $23 for 12 tickets. Monthly passes range from $31 to $62.

“If our transit fare rates are reaching the threshold where the people who rely on the service to get to different parts of the City then we’re really not serving our citizens in the way that we need to,” said Veer.

Transit is always encouraged as the environmentally friendly option.

“If transit is affordable then it provides incentives for the use of it and becomes a more viable option hopefully for the people who might not use it, they might just choose to use it because it’s a more environmentally friendly option,” said Veer.

City council believes they need to make some changes in order to make sure they are achieving the objective of providing their citizens an affordable mode of transportation and hope to do so with next month’s report.

kpalardy@reddeerexpress.com

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