Transit fare hike coming to cover rising costs of system

Public transit users are likely to soon be paying more to get on board Central Okanagan buses.

Public transit users are likely to soon be paying more to get on board Central Okanagan buses.

Last week council voted to support an increase in bus fares from $2 to $2.25 effective January 1, 2012. Those who purchase monthly ridership passes will pay $60, up from the current $53.

Director of Finance Stephen Banman explained to council that the fare hike is in keeping with the transit service’s regularly scheduled rate increases, which come approximately every four years.

Costs associated with running the system increase annually but raising transit fees every year would be problematic for riders. Annual fare increases would result in user rates like $2.06 or $2.13 and the small change involved is thought to be a hassle for passengers.

Transit fares were last increased in 2007 and the new increase seeks to recoup some of the costs that have increased since that time.

“We have to think of the increased cost of gas and that we want to see more riders using the bus in our community,” said Coun. Penny Gambell.

For the increase to go through to implementation it still needs to be supported by the rest of Lake Country’s regional transit partners. West Kelowna has already supported the increase while the Regional District of the Central Okanagan has indicated that it will hold off on a decision until the remaining municipal partners have addressed the issue.

Even with the increase, council agrees that the cost of riding public transit in the Central Okanagan is conducive to attracting more riders. On a single fare riders are able to travel to any destination between Peachland and Vernon.

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