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Airdrie Transit fares to increase in April

By: Stacie Snow

  |  Posted: Thursday, Feb 09, 2012 06:00 am

Airdronians can expect an increase in transit fees in April. The amount will vary based on ticket packages, but users will soon be paying up to 60 per cent more for trips into Calgary. Local fares will not increase.
Airdronians can expect an increase in transit fees in April. The amount will vary based on ticket packages, but users will soon be paying up to 60 per cent more for trips into Calgary. Local fares will not increase.
RVP File Photo

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City council approved an increase in transit fares in order to recover the costs of the ACCESS Airdrie service to Calgary and InterCity Express (ICE) Service, Feb. 6.

During the 2012 budget deliberations, council asked staff to come back with an increased fare structure to help offset City subsidies to transit.

The costs for the ICE Service will increase from $5 to $8 for a one-time ticket paid in cash, from $45 to $65 for a 10-ticket booklet, from $147 to $170 for an adult monthly pass and from $117 to $125 for a youth/student/senior monthly pass.

“The net cost to the service is currently $108,123, the difference between the budgeted revenue of $220,000 and the true cost if all direct and indirect costs of service provision of ICE calculated as $364,348,” said Chris MacIsaac, Airdrie Transit coordinator.

“The majority of our users are monthly pass holders and we want to reward those who are using the transit service on a regular basis.”

The ACCESS service is a curb-to-curb service for eligible clients who need to go into Calgary for medical, life skill development, and visitations to hospital and extended living facilities.

Its costs have increased 40 per cent since 2006, while the fare structure has only increased by seven per cent in the same time frame.

Fares will rise from $9 to $10 for trips under 30 kilometres, from $10 to $12 for trips 30 to 40 kilometres, from $11 to $14 for trips 40 to 50 kilometres and from $12 to $16 for trips 50 to 60 kilometres.

There will be no increase for people who are eligible for the Transit Ridership Subsidy Program.

Mayor Peter Brown voted against the motion and said although he is happy to see more of the cost of the service recovered through user fees, he doesn’t think the new fare structure goes far enough.

“I still hearken back to the fact that we want to have this at a more reasonable rate,” he said.

“It costs $45 to $75 per day to drive a car downtown, not including parking. These figures are really low in my opinion. Less than 10 per cent of our community actually ride the bus. You say it is a huge community need, but I doubt that.

I can’t support this alternative.”

According to MacIsaac, in December, 5,181 people used the ICE service.

Alderman Murray Buchanan was in support of a review for the transit fare structure.

“We have to remember, we asked (staff) to come back with a fare structure that covers the operating costs and still promotes the service we have,” he said.

“If they developed a fare structure that covers operating costs and indirect costs, we have to say the mandate we asked for (was achieved).”

The new fees will be implemented in April. There will be no increase to fares for local transit.


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