For the first time in over a decade, Grande Prairie Transit riders will be paying more to hop on and off the bus around the city. Single ride case fares jumped to $3 from $2 while monthly passes are now $69, up from $54.
Transit Manager Steve Harvard says the city looked at how transit fees lined up in comparably sized cities before making the decision to bump fees for the first time since 2005.
“For us, it’s important to make sure we are comparing apples to apples, and that’s why we chose communities that are a similar size in Alberta to make sure we weren’t going too aggressive so to speak. I do admit that after 14 years this does look quite aggressive.”
Harvard says transit finances are a fairly tricky topic, as in most cases it is fully paid for by the taxpayers, but he suggests that with a fee-free lasting over a decade, riders will still pay below the average you’d see across the province.
“It’s just a matter of how much it is subsidized. I don’t believe over the 14 years if we account for inflation this increase would have matched the inflation.”
In the case of ridership numbers, Harvard says some may discontinue use of the transit system, but he compares it to the drop off in numbers of drivers when gas prices spike.
“We know some people choose not to use their car any longer or to use it less. I feel it’s the same with transit, some people may use it less, those who have the option.”
The new transit fares went into effect on July 1st.