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Translink’s Transit Fare Review

We are hearing from more and more people that transportation is a significant cost and inhibits their access to school, work, medical appointments, and social and cultural events. As people are forced to move because of high rent and then have to travel long distances to go to work, the cost of transit is becoming a growing issue.

Now we have a chance to address transit affordability!

Translink are in the final stage of public consultations on transit fares and they are considering a low income transit program!

Here is their survey: https://www.translink.ca/Plans-and-Projects/Transit-Fare-Review.aspx

Hurry, the deadline is December 8!

Other places have low-income transit programs (e.g. Calgary, Edmonton, Seattle, and Cranbrook) so now’s our opportunity to let Translink know that we urgently need one here in Metro Vancouver.

Use the guide below to answer the questions in support of affordable transit for all:

  • Section I focuses on fares by distance – this would need to be in combination with a low-income transit program to avoid penalizing people who have been forced to move far from work due to high housing costs
  • Section II asks about fare capping, which is a great idea for low-income people because it allows a rider to pay for single fares until they reach the level of a monthly pass, thus avoiding the upfront burden
  • Section III is the most important area to express your support for low-income transit

Have your say before December 8 at:

https://www.translink.ca/Plans-and-Projects/Transit-Fare-Review.aspx

Here’s what Translink itself is saying about the issue:

What we’ve heard: TransLink often receives requests to reduce prices for low income individuals. In Phase 1, 58 per cent of residents agreed that fares should be lower for people with less ability to pay than for people with more ability to pay.

Key gaps: In Metro Vancouver, there are around 300,000 people who are considered low-income but not currently receiving externally funded discounts.

Guide to Survey Questions

Here’s how we’re responding to the survey to push for a low-income transit program in Metro Vancouver.

Section 1: Fares by Distance

*1. Do you support or oppose replacing the current three-zone system with a fare system that more closely reflects distances travelled?

Answer however you wish

*2. To what extent do you agree or disagree with Option #1: Fares priced by kilometre on rapid transit and flat fare on bus?

Strongly agree: If you agree with a distance-based system, this is the best option because a flat fare on the bus benefits low-income people.

Why? (Optional)

To meet Translink’s goals of affordability, this must be done in combination with a low-income transit program otherwise it benefits those who can afford to live near work and penalizes low-income people who have been forced to move because of high housing costs and now travel long distances to work. Maintaining a flat fare on the bus supports the goal of affordability too as higher income people can afford to move into skytrain-serviced neighbourhoods while low-income people more often rely on bus service.

*3. To what extent do you agree or disagree with Option #2: Fares priced by kilometre across the transit system?

Strongly disagree

Why? (Optional)

Maintaining the flat fare on the bus in Option 1 supports the goal of affordability as higher income people can afford to move into skytrain-serviced neighbourhoods while low-income people more often rely on bus service.

Section II: Fare Products

*1. To what extent do you agree or disagree with offering pre-paid passes?

Strongly disagree

Why? (Optional)

Paying upfront benefits those who have the means to pay a larger amount for the overall discount while low-income people who cannot afford the upfront fee have to pay more for each single fare.

*2. To what extent do you agree or disagree with offering fare capping?

Strongly agree

Why? (Optional)

Low-income people would gain the benefit of the discount once they reach the fare capping level without requiring a large upfront fee that puts a pass out of reach.

Section III: Expanding Customer Discounts

*1. In your opinion, should low-income individuals who are not receiving discounted transit fares through an existing, external program receive a fare discount?

Yes

*2. Do you support or oppose increasing fares to pay for discounts to low-income individuals?

Strongly support

(This is a terrible question framed to make people oppose a low-income transit pass so let’s highlight our support, and then advocate to the provincial government for funding to support this program.)

*3. Do you think we should make any changes to our existing discounts?

Yes

  1. If yes, what changes would you like to see? (Optional)

$5/month low income transit pass for all; expand children discount from 0-4 years to 0-18 years to ensure that children can fulfill their right to an education;

Thank you!