‘Things have been tough’: Edmonton councillors hit the brakes on transit fare hike

Transit fares in Edmonton will not increase in 2022, after city councillors decided to change course on a plan to hike single trip fares to $4.

In 2018, the previous council decided an increase was necessary to cover rising costs like fuel, labour, and power. Other fare products, including monthly bus passes, were set to increase by two per cent.

But during budget discussions Wednesday, councillors unanimously agreed to scrap that plan.

Instead the costs will be covered by $3.4 million from COVID-19 funds in the city’s financial stabilization reserve.

“The public has spoken very clearly that they do not want to see a fare or rate increase, especially now as we are emerging out of COVID,” Coun. Aaron Paquette argued.

“Our ridership is low and we are trying to encourage it.”

Currently, the cash fare is $3.50. The previous city council decided to postpone any price increases for two years in a row due to the pandemic and delays in implementing the Arc Card smart fare system.

“Things have been tough for many, many Edmontonians. Particularly those who are living on a low income. For them, public transportation has been a means for a connection to the community, to amenities, to work and to go see friends,” Mayor Amarjeet Sohi said.

“This really helps make a difference in their lives.”

Budget talks are expected to wrap up Friday as councillors debate a proposed 1.8 per cent tax increase, which may rise as more projects have been added.

With files from CTV News Edmonton’s Jeremy Thompson

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