Once again, transit service cuts and fare increases are included in the 2016 City of Guelph proposed budget. It seems that whenever we are looking for savings or revenue during budget season, Transit is one of the first places staff look to offer up big dollars. This is backwards for so many reasons. Let me count just a few of them.
- Transit is an essential service in the lives of many citizens, most of whom have no other form of transportation.
- Transit fare increases hurt primarily low-income individuals in our community.
- In order to reduce traffic, parking demand, road infrastructure lifecycle replacement time and greenhouse gas emissions, we need to get more riders to choose transit as either their primary or secondary form of transportation.
- You can’t grow ridership by extending wait times and making people late for work. Our GM Transit estimates that ridership will decline by 5% as a result of the proposed budget (1% decrease due to service cuts and another 3-4% due to fare hikes).
- Transit is already subsidized at a much lower rate than automobile drivers.
Council will hear from public delegations on November 30 on the proposed budget. I do not support raising transit fares, nor do I support cutting Sunday service to 60 minutes. Ideally, I would like to see the new Mainline (at the very least) implemented in September 2016. The final budget vote is scheduled for December 9.
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