TransLink's existing three-zone system for fares is up in the air as it begins a review of options for reform.

Transit fare review opens door to big changes

TransLink seeks advice on how to charge for trips as it launches major review of fares in Metro Vancouver

Should transit riders pay less if service is infrequent in their area? Should fares be tied to ability to pay? Or should a transit trip cost the same amount no matter who pays or where they go?

Those are some of the questions TransLink is asking the public as it begins a major two-year review to reimagine the transit fare system.

It’s the first such review in more than 30 years since the original three-zone fare system was first adopted, and it throws open the potential at least for radical changes.

“No decisions have been made,” said Tim Savoie, TransLink vice-president of transportation planning and policy. “We recognize that any potential changes will directly affect our customers and that’s why we’re asking for input at the very start of this process and throughout each phase.”

Anyone can fill out the survey for the first phase of consultations at www.translink.ca/farereview until June 30. Also planned are stakeholder forums, polls and other events.

The questionnaire sheds some light on the types of reforms TransLink may consider.

It asks if fares should be lower at less busy times – effectively creating time-of-day pricing that could encourage some riders to shift to off-peak times to save money.

Other questions include:

– Whether cheaper fares should be created for very short trips where riders are now reluctant to pay the minimum $2.75.

– Whether reduced rates should be offered to families travelling together.

– Whether three-day or maybe week passes should be also be offered, rather than just day or month passes.

Also up for debate is how far fares should go to cover the system’s costs.

Transit fares generate nearly $500 million a year and any fare structure reform would have to deliver a similar amount if the system is to maintain its current 53 per cent cost-recovery ratio with existing service levels.

The survey asks if “fares should be set to cover a higher share of transit costs.”

Alternatively, it asks if fares should be priced to be competitive with driving, or priced based on the cost of building and operating a service – a high-cost new rapid transit line might then come with higher fares.

Cash fares for a SkyTrain trip are currently $2.75 to ride one zone, $4 for trips across two zones and $5.50 to ride three zones, such as from Surrey to Vancouver.

TransLink has already eliminated multi-zone fares for bus routes that cross zone boundaries — that change was in response to a decision last fall to abandon the Compass card tap-out requirement on buses.

The existing three-zone system is unfair, particularly to riders who have to take short SkyTrain trips across a zone boundary, forcing them to pay for two zones.

The Compass card’s arrival provides real-time data for TransLink and opens up more scope to consider new fare options.

Just Posted

Coleman decides against running for Surrey mayor

‘I’m a Langley guy,’ MLA says

Glow Langley returns bigger and brighter this Christmas

Organizers will also introduce Harvest Glow — a celebration of autumn

Aldergrove Food Bank leader ‘retires’

Darlene Isaak has a ‘legacy written in the hearts and bellies of the vulnerable’

A closer look at law enforcement for RCMP junior cadets

Annual Langley event marks 13th year

Langley man arrested for alleged voyeurism at BCIT

Burnaby RCMP have arrested a 48-year-old man after he allegedly took photos of a woman in a washroom

Trudeau asks transport minister to tackle Greyhound’s western pullout

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says he’s asked Transport Minister Marc Garneau to find solutions in Greyhound Canada’s absence.

Hub for mental health and addictions treatment opens at B.C. hospital

St. Paul’s Hospital HUB is an acute medical unit that includes 10 patient beds

Restaurant Brands International to review policy over poaching employees

One of Canada’s largest fast-food company to review ‘no-poach’ franchise agreements

Calgary family’s vacation ends in tragedy on Texas highway

Three people died and four others were injured in the crash

Union construction cost competitive, B.C. Building Trades say

Non-union firms can bid on infrastructure, but employees have to join international unions

Trudeau to shuffle cabinet ahead of Liberals’ team for 2019

Trudeau could lighten the work loads of cabinet ministers who currently oversee more than one portfolio

Car calls 911 on possible impaired B.C. driver

A luxury car automatically calls Princeton police to scene of crash involving alcohol

BC Games marks 40 years in 2018

Cowichan Games a milestone for BC Games Society

VIDEO: Life’s a beach at this B.C. sand sculpting contest

More than $50,000 was up for grabs at the annual contest held in Parksville

Most Read