Transit fares jump 10 per cent in January
Most transit fares in Metro Vancouver will rise at least 10 per cent in January as TransLink moves to wring more cash out of riders.
And monthly pass holders and West Coast Express users will pay 12.5 per cent more than they do now.
The fare increase will generate an estimated $32 million for the transportation authority and the impact depends on what type of ticket or pass is bought.
Cash fares will rise Jan. 1 from $2.50 to $2.75 to travel one zone, from $3.75 to $4 for two zones and from $5 to $5.50 for three zones.
The one-zone concession fare of $1.75 for seniors and students will be unchanged, but two-zone concession fares go from $2.50 to $2.75 and three zones rise 25 cents to $3.75.
Monthly passes jump to $91 (up from $81) for one zone, $124 (up from $110) for two zones and $170 (up from $151) for three zones.
Concession passes rise to $52 from $45.50.
A day pass will now cost $9.75 or $7.50 for the concession rate.
HandyDart custom transit users will also see their fees go up.
TransLink has the legislated power to raise cash fares two per cent a year, which enables the 10 per cent increase because cash fares haven't risen in the five years since 2008.
The prices of prepaid FareSaver tickets remain unchanged, as they were increased in 2010.
TransLink spokesman Drew Snider was unable to provide estimates of how much transit demand might be dampened by higher fares.
"We're actually seeing transit demand grow substantially each year," he said, adding it was a "difficult choice" to increase fares.
Fares generate one third of TransLink's revenue, with most of the rest coming through property tax and fuel tax.
TransLink wanted to raise fares even higher – by about 12.5 per cent overall – but the portion of the proposed increase beyond the rate of inflation was rejected by TransLink Commissioner Martin Crilly last spring.
One zone rates apply on transit no matter how far a passenger travels after 6:30 p.m. and on weekends and holidays.
This may be the last year that conventional tickets and passes are issued.
TransLink will introduce its Compass smart card in late 2013, which is to become the new method of payment in the system.
Snider said the Compass card will mirror the existing fare structure when it rolls out, adding there are no immediate plans for a restructuring that might eventually see TransLink eliminate its current zones in favour of more precise distance-based fares.