Cash fares for Halifax Transit riders will increase on Oct. 1 by 25 cents for all user categories.
Halifax regional council approved the hike on Tuesday that will see adults/students pay $2.75 and seniors/youth pay $2 per ride once the increase takes effect.
Coun. Sam Austin pointed out there has not been an increase since 2013.
“This is just keeping up with inflation,” said Austin. “It has to come from somewhere, there’s no money tree and this a very reasonable [increase].”
Coun. Tony Mancini tried to hold the line on the rate for seniors, which will be $1.75 until the hike takes effect this fall.
‘Even 25 cents more is significant,’ says councillor
“For many of our seniors, even 25 cents more is significant,” said Mancini.
But transit staff said keeping the rate the same for just one category would require changes that would delay the increases, and that could reduce expected revenues. The proposal was defeated in an 8-7 vote.
On Tuesday, council rejected a staff recommendation to look into charging fees at all park-and-ride lots.
But Coun. Waye Mason thinks the vote should be reconsidered to allow for a study of certain lots.
He pointed out that the park and ride at the Woodside Ferry Terminal is frequently filled with students from the nearby waterfront campus of the Nova Scotia Community College. There is no fee to park at that terminal, while NSCC students must pay to use their campus lot.
“It doesn’t mean we have to charge at Portland Hills, but we know we have an operational issue at Woodside,” said Mason.
Regional council will take another look at the idea at a September council meeting.
Transit officials will also look at free transit programs for low-income seniors and youth.
A proposal to eliminate the seniors rate to provide free transit for youth was rejected at the August meeting of the municipality’s transportation committee.