Open up your wallet – they are asking more from you to ride those busses. Bfast strenuously opposes the increase.

 

 

By Pepper Parr

Burlington, Ont., April 16, 2013 —Burlington Transit will be increasing fares, effective Wednesday, May 1, 2013. The increased fares will lead to extended services for transit users across the city.  The increases were approved by city council in March.

Director of Transit, Mike Spicer advises that increases  in ridership along many routes calls for extended  services on these specific routes,”

Will there be a reduction in the number of people who use the transit service when the new rates hit May 1st? Probably not – the people who use transit for the most part don’t have a choice.

The following enhanced services will take effect on June 23, 2013:

Route 101 Plains Express:

New all-day service Monday to Friday

Minimum 30-minute frequency

15-minute frequency during peak periods

Additional stops at: Royal Botanical Gardens, Gorton Avenue, Howard Road and Francis Road

Routes 11 and 15

Saturday evening service extended to 10:30 p.m. and adding Sunday service on both of these routes

Northeast employment corridor – Monday to Friday midday by removing the current dial-a-ride Route 54D and extending Route 81 to cover this portion of Burlington.

Bfast, the Burlington transit advocacy group didn’t see the fare increase through the same rosy glasses.

Bus fares are going up 8.4% May 1st announces Bfast.

Is this because Burlington Transit buses are 8.4% more frequent?

Are buses 8.4% more comfortable?

Do they break down 8.4% less frequently?

 Are they 8.4% more accessible?

Do these buses take us to 8.4% more places?

In short, is our Bus Ride 8.4% better? Is it worth 8.4% more money?

James Smith, part of the Bfast group said: “I think all informed observers would answer NO.

Smith, who might be a potential municipal candidate in 2014, he has run in the past, said:  “The minor improvements outlined by city staff only go part way to restoring the service that was cut in 2012. These so-called enhancements were proposed by city staff in the budget process and are welcome  However, these proposals were also proposed without a fare increase. This 8.4% fare hike has been called ad hoc, but I think of it as a cruel joke pulled out of thin air at city council without consultation”.

“In the March 13, 2013 Toronto Star article on the failures of transit in the 905 Mayor Goldring was quoted without a hint of irony as saying: “They (fare increases) should not be done on an ad hoc basis, … There should be some clear rationale.” 

“Having listened very closely to city council on this subject I did not hear a clear rational for this ad hoc 8.4% increase. Some fees charged by the city have not gone up this year, others have. But I challenge the Councillors who voted for this increase to give us an example of one other city service fee that’s increased 8.4%.”

Burlington Transit does have plans to purchase smaller buses which will see more vehicles on the street and improve service.

“In 2012 city council removed half million dollars gas tax money (earmarked for carbon emission reductions) from Burlington Transit and now use that capital  to pave cul-de-sacs. Most cities use all of their gas tax money for transit. Burlington’s alone in the GTHA as we spend 80% of federal money meant for carbon emission reduction on increasing carbon emissions!”

“By 2015 the city of Burlington will have removed at least two million dollars from the transit capital funding and transferred this money to roads; talk about a carbon shift!”

“On May 1st Burlington will have the second most expensive Bus fare in the GTHA. Does this mean Burlington will get the second best transit system? The answer is no.  By any objective measurement Burlington has arguably the worst system in the GTHA. Burlington has the lowest number of busses per 100,000 population, the oldest fleet,  and the lowest  operational spending per capita, so it is no wonder we also have the lowest number of people per capita riding busses of any GTHA municipality.

Suits won’t be seen in this bus shelter on John Street in the downtown core – they can drive to wherever they want to go.  Those who don’t have that much income have to take the bus – and use this close to filthy bus shelter.

The funding for road repairs has been so poorly managed in Burlington that the city now, according to Ward 1 Councillor Rick Craven, is short $18 million a year on the amount needed to get the roads to acceptable standards. Shadeland Rd in Craven’s ward certainly needs more than a “shave and pave”, the city’s current approach to fixing its roads.

Using gas tax revenue may be one way to move funding around but transit riders should not be expected to pay more and get less to keep the car drivers happy.

In comments to the Chamber of Commerce recently Mayor Goldring said “Suits in this city, don’t ride the bus.”  Could that be because of the condition of those buses and the shelters along the bus route?


              

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