Council Approves Fare Increase for 2013

Posted 21 September 2012 at 1:34 PM · View comments

Yesterday morning Regional Council approved a fare increase for YRT riders effective the start of the new year. On January 1st, 2013, the new cash fare to board a bus will be $3.75.

Here's the full breakdown of the new fares:
Fare Category Current (2012) New (2013)
All cash fares, except Express $3.50 $3.75
Express cash fare 4.00 4.25
Adult ticket 2.80 3.00
Student ticket 2.10 2.30
Senior/child ticket 1.65 1.85
Express ticket 3.30 3.50
GTA weekly pass 54.00 54.00
Adult monthly pass 115.00 120.00
Student monthly pass 85.00 90.00
Senior/child monthly pass 50.00 55.00
Express monthly pass 140.00 150.00
GO ($0.75) plus GO subsidy 2.80 3.00
GO ($30 sticker) + GO subsidy 112.00 120.00

UPDATE: YorkRegion.com is reporting it was actually a slightly lesser fare raise that was approved by Council last Thursday. Apparently the price in 2013 of an adult pass, student pass and senior/child pass will be $120, $90 and $55, respectively. I've updated the table above to reflect this.

The Region's Transportation Services Committee has said (PDF) the fare raise is motivated primarily by the need for YRT to maintain an acceptable revenue-to-cost ratio—that is, for it to make sure riders are paying what it considers their fair share of the cost of operating the service. The agency has fallen short of its targeted minimum ratio of 40% in recent years and expects to achieve a ratio of only 36% this year, in part due to lost ridership as a result of last year's labour strike.

Considering the timing and extent of the fare raise I expected a negative outpouring from riders, but so far I've seen very little of it. Perhaps that will change as word spreads about the new fares.

Briefly, in other news:

Bill Fisch to retire

York Region CEO Bill Fisch, who during last year's transit strike was a target of constant criticism from the unions and other observers, announced yesterday he has decided to retire at the end of Council's current term in November 2014. This announcement follows shortly after second reading in the Ontario Legislature of a bill that would make Mr. Fisch's position an elected one, which received enthusiastic support from members of all three major parties.

While I don't share the contempt that many others affected by the strike appear to have for Mr. Fisch, these events do seem to suggest a shift in power may be occurring within Regional Council. I'll be following this story.

New arbitration-reform bill introduced

Back on the 12th of September Progressive-Conservative MPP for Simcoe-Grey Jim Wilson introduced a bill in the Ontario Legislature that seeks to reopen the debate on public-sector arbitration reform. Quoting Mr. Wilson from his statement in parliament:

This bill enacts the Ability to Pay Act, 2012. The legislation is designed to address arbitrator decisions in recent years where public sector unions receive settlements far in excess of the growth in the economy. The result was to place a heavy burden on taxpayers at the Ontario and local levels as governments struggled with record deficits and a lagging economy.

You'll recall during last year's transit strike the union locals made repeated calls for binding arbitration to be imposed, describing it as a fair and neutral way of reaching a settlement in the dispute. In reality it's been observed that arbitration regularly awards wage and benefit increases beyond what taxpayers are in a position to pay and beyond what unions could normally expect to negotiate on their own. Mr. Wilson's bill, which awaits second reading, would implement one part of the PC party's strategy for arbitration reform by requiring arbitrators take into consideration taxpayers' ability to pay without new taxes when making their decision.

Metrolinx Public Accessibility Meetings coming up

Finally, if you missed last night's public session with Metrolinx regarding transit accessibility there are two more sessions coming up: One in Pickering this Monday, and one in Toronto next Thursday. The announcement on YRT's site has the details.

Have a great weekend, and safe travels if you're heading out.