Last week, I completed BC Transit’s survey for the 2016 Victoria Regional Transit Commission Fare Structure Review. (The survey is now closed, and a decision on the new fare structure will be made on December 8, 2015. You can find a review of the three options presented in the survey in the Times Colonist and Saanich News reports.) Here’s what I told them in the survey:
I would really like to see increasing property taxes presented in this survey as an alternative to increasing fares. We pay for local roads almost entirely through property taxes and provincial funding, and we don’t toll local roads or bridges. The same should go for transit, which increases everybody’s mobility by reducing traffic congestion. We should not have to pay directly through fares every time we want to use transit, just as people don’t have to pay a user fee every time they take their car out of their driveway.
Any of the changes suggested in this survey will lead to me using the bus less frequently, reducing my mobility. Eliminating transfers, as option 3 suggests, would mean that I would have to buy a car rather than relying on the combination of transit, cycling and walking as I do now; it would simply be too expensive and inconvenient to pay multiple fares on multiple buses to get where I need to go. As transit planner Jarrett Walker says, “Charging passengers extra for the inconvenience of connections is insane. It discourages exactly the customer behavior that efficient and liberating networks depend on. It undermines the whole notion of a transit network.”