Thursday, June 22, 2017

Results of public feedback on transit fare review: distance-based fare for rail, flat fare for bus

Our current system of how we pay for our transportation network in Metro Vancouver is under review. There are problems with our current transportation system in our region such as regional inequity, increasing traffic congestion, over-crowding on buses and trains, and continuing reduction in our ability to support transportation investment with current revenue options. Changing how we pay for the transportation system can resolve these problems.

The Mayors’ Council on Regional Transportation has recently setup a Mobility Pricing Independent Commission to make recommendations on ways to improve how we pay for using roads and bridges in our region. At the same time, TransLink is undergoing a transit fare review.

The most effective system for roads, bridges, and transit would be a full user-pay, distance-based pricing system. The likely results of both the Mayors’ Council road pricing review and the TransLink fare review will be a system with some user-pay, distance-based fee elements, user-pay, flat fee elements, and taxation elements.

TransLink recently completed a report of public feedback for different fare options for transit.

Level of support for various bus service fare options. Select table to enlarge.

Level of support for various rail service fare options. Select table to enlarge.

Level of support for fares based on service type. Select table to enlarge.

For bus service, the strongest support was for keeping the current flat fare system. For rail service, the strongest support was for moving away from the zone-based fare system, and moving to a distance-based fare system. Keeping a premium pricing structure for West Coast Express also received the strongest level of support.

It was interesting that there wasn’t strong support for different fares for some types of transit services in the pubic feedback as people seemed to most support a flat fare model for buses, distance-based fare model for SkyTrain, and distance-based, premium fare model for West Coast Express. This certainly seems like a system with fares that differ for some service types.

Level of support for various time-of-day fare options. Select table to enlarge.

Back in the BC Transit era in Metro Vancouver, zoned-based fares were only charged during peak travel periods on transit. There was strong support for moving back to a system where you pay more during peak travel periods, and less during off peak periods.

Based on public feedback, TransLink will be working to develop a short-list of options for a new fare system for transit which should be made available later this year. The final recommendation for a fare system will be done in 2018.

No comments: