After last year’s cancellation of the annual fare increase due to COVID-19, TransLink is now considering an increase to all fares and services effective on July 1, 2021.
The rate of increase is set at 2.3%, which translates to increases of 5 cents for one-zone adult fare, 10 cent increase on a two-zone adult fare, and 15 cent increase on a three-zone fare using the Compass Card stored value.
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Concession fares (children and seniors) will go up by 5 cents on one-zone and two-zone, and 10 cents on three-zone using stored value on the Compass Card.
On monthly passes, the adult fares will go up by $2.25 for one zone, $3.00 for two-zone, and $4.05 for three-zone. Concession monthly passes will increase by $1.30.
TransLink’s board of directors will consider this reduced rate fare increase during a public meeting on Thursday.
Prior to COVID-19, the rate of annual fare increases was set at 4.6% for 2020 and 4.1% for 2021 to help fund TransLink’s expansion plans. However, under an agreement with the federal and provincial governments, TransLink is required to keep annual fare increases at no more than 2.3% through 2024 in exchange for receiving $644 million in emergency operating funding. BC Transit and BC Ferries have a similar fare cap as part of their agreement for emergency operating funding from the senior governments.
TransLink’s 2.3% fare increase starting on Canada Day 2021 is expected to increase revenue by $4 million annually.
“Lower ridership and fare revenue has dropped TransLink’s cost recovery rate significantly and this fare increase is necessary to permit TransLink to maintain our service levels,” reads a TransLink staff report.
“However, this lower fare increase than what was originally provided for in the Phase Two Investment Plan supports affordability of fares for TransLink’s customers and economic recovery objectives.”
All the while, public transit ridership in Metro Vancouver remains significantly depressed, hovering at about 40% of normal volumes in late 2020. Fare revenue will continue to be substantially lower in 2021 due to the anticipated decreased demand in ridership.
It was also noted in the report that TransLink began the transition of the SkyExpo Line Surrey-Langley Extension to the BC Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure’s portfolio in December 2020. During the recent election, the BC NDP announced it would assume full responsibility of the $3.2-billion SkyTrain extension project to expedite the completion of the full extension from King George Station to Langley Centre. The transition of the project will be fully completed by the second quarter of this year.