Tuesday, December 17, 2019

Fares are for rationing, not revenue

Here is more evidence that fares are for rationing, not revenue. Fares are user-fees. User fees are a device to prevent overuse of misuse of a service. Sometimes user-fees are useful and necessary to ensure that a public service accomplishes its goal. In public transit, the goal should be to increase ridership, as that lowers the unit cost and gives a better return on the public investment.
Evidence from Edmonton’s previous fare increases demonstrates that raising fares to fund the system prices people out of using the service. The City’s own numbers show that the last time they raised fares in 2016, the city estimated that over 400,000 fewer rides would be taken and their projections show that an additional increase to $4 in 2021 from the current rate would decrease yearly rides by 280,000. 
In a city that already suffers from chronically low mode share for transit, this is not just counterintuitive, it’s setting us up to fail on increasing ridership and decreasing emissions. 
Edmontonians deserve a transit system that they can rely on. As we move towards a just, green future, let’s make fare-free transit the reliable, accessible option.