Commuters will have to shell out more for their transit fares next year.
The City of Vernon, the District of Coldstream and the Regional District of North Okanagan jointly approved changes to transit fares to coincide with planned service expansion and changes coming in spring 2018 in Vernon and on the Route #90 – UBCO.
Beginning April 1, 2018, there will be one cash fare of $2.50 for all transit services. For adult transit users this means an increase of .50 cents (based on current one zone fare). For students and seniors this will be a total increase of $.75. HandyDart users will see fares increase from $1.75 to $2.00 this year. In April 2019 that fare will be raised to $2.50.
The good news, according to Trevor Seibel, chief administrative officer for the District of Coldstream, is that, under the new fare structure, the existing single zone and multi zone fares will be unified into one, reducing the number of tickets and pass categories from 14 to five, which means for cash fares, there is one fee “across the board.” Apart from route #90 which will be $5 due to the distance between Kelowna and Vernon.
The changes are based on recommendations made in the Transit Fare Review, which examines the Vernon Regional Transit System’s current fare structure, discusses historic revenue and ridership trends, and draws comparisons to the fare structures in peer transit systems and to BC Transit’s recommended fare guidelines, with the goal of maximizing fare revenue, promoting ridership and improving transit operator security.
According to the review, BC Transit says the rate hikes are necessary to keep inline with inflated costs in lower ridership numbers (in some areas). The review also reveals that the current fare structure has been in effect since 2004, while the current handyDART fares came into effect in 1996.