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Prices cut for senior, student bus passes

Dec 05 2012
B.C. Transit's Victoria garage on Gorge Road East. 

B.C. Transit's Victoria garage on Gorge Road East.

Photograph by: Bruce Stotesbury, Times Colonist , Times Colonist

Prices of monthly bus passes for seniors and youth are being cut as a way to encourage ridership. The price for an adult one-day pass is also being cut.

Monthly passes for those six to 18, and 65 and older, will drop to $45 from $52 as of April 1, the Victoria Regional Transit Commission decided Tuesday.

The new fare structure will also create a universal single-trip cash fare of $2.50, eliminating the $1.65 discounted fare for those age groups.

Adult day passes will be reduced to $5 from $7.75, a move designed to increase ridership among those who do not regularly use transit but want to take advantage of a single fare while making several trips. Under the new program, adults with a day pass will be able to bring up to four children ages 12 and under on the bus for free.

The changes closely align with feedback gathered through a public survey conducted by B.C.

Transit officials, who say having just one cash fare would result in fewer disputes about age and faster boarding, making the entire system more efficient.

Finding a solution that worked for both riders and B.C. Transit was important, said Victoria Mayor Dean Fortin, who sits on the commission. "The option we chose provided the best response to all the concerns raised by the public and B.C. Transit," he said.

Commission members considered four fare structures before selecting a modified version of the third option, which was the most popular among those surveyed.

Results of the transit-fare review showed that 43 per cent of about 1,200 respondents liked option 3, which encouraged the purchase of pre-paid passes for seniors and youth by dropping the price to $42.50, while increasing individual cash fares for both groups to $2.50 from $1.65.

It was the only proposal to keep cash fares at $2.50; the others included increases to $2.75 or $3.

Option 3 would have resulted in revenue increases of about $400,000, according to B.C. Transit's projections - the lowest of the options.

Commission members instead chose to reduce the cost of the passes to $45.

B.C. Transit projects a revenue increase of about $500,000 a year.

"By giving seniors and youth these discounted, stable and long-term options, we are expecting we will increase ridership," said Meribeth Burton, spokeswoman for B.C. Transit. dspalding@timescolonist.com

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