Zoned transit rates penalize riders

Drew Snider of TransLink says that even with the fare increase, Vancouver transit fares are lower than Montreal or Toronto because of our 90-minute use period [Straight Talk, Jan. 10-17]. Aside from the fact that Toronto and Montreal both have vastly superior transit systems, what Mr. Snider doesn’t mention is that these cities do not have the punitive zone rates that are in place here.

By charging people commuting to or from Surrey twice as much to use the interconnected transit system, we are, in effect, penalizing the very people we should be helping—and the 90-minutes ticket doesn’t do commuters any good anyway. Throw a child or two into the mix and the transit system makes no economic sense at all. It is cheaper to drive. As [Port Moody Mayor] Joe Trasolini says, transit should be free—paid for from general revenues. It most assuredly should be free for school kids.

Is it any wonder that 25 percent of all morning rush-hour traffic is attributed to parents driving their kids to school? We penalize school kids by charging them a fee to get to school (a statutory obligation) then wonder why they are inactive and overweight and why our streets are clogged with polluting vehicles. Our thinking about public transit needs to be turned on its head. Step one: get rid of the zone rates. If you must charge a fee, make it one low fee for all adult users. School-age children should be allowed to use the system for free. Public transit should be part of our children’s public education.

> Barbara Docherty / Vancouver

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