_ (press release) _ ** Ottawa - ** Transit Commission today approved the 2017 draft budget for Transit Services that includes the introduction of the new EquiPass. Transit Commission also approved a one-year extension of the Presto Smartcard Operating Agreement. The 2017 draft budget will be considered at City Council on Wednesday, December 14. ** ** ** EquiPass ** This budget introduces the EquiPass, which provides residents with a household income below the low-income cut-off, as defined by Statistics Canada, with a new affordable transit-pass option. The EquiPass will be available in April 2017 at a discount of 50 per cent on the regular adult monthly fare. Each year, the City will invest $2.7 million towards this pass when fully implemented. This is the City’s largest one-time increase in financial support for public transit in the City’s history. ** Improving bus service ** The City, in partnership with the federal government, will acquire 17 new high-capacity buses to meet the demand in growing areas of the city. These new and increased services would be used for approximately 950,000 new customer trips per year. The increased service will begin in late December 2017 and will be fully in place for 2018. ** Fare increases ** The Draft Budget 2017 recommends a 1.25-per-cent increase to transit fares starting January 1, 2017, excluding the U-Pass, which will increase by 2.5 per cent in September 2017, in accordance with the contracts agreed to with the participating universities and colleges. ** Presto Smartcard Operating Agreement ** Transit Commission has approved a one-year extension with Metrolinx to complete an agreement for the operation of the Presto smartcard system for OC Transpo. The City requested an extension to allow it to focus on the construction of the O-Train Confederation Line. Metrolinx had already agreed to the one-year extension that would include the same two-per-cent fee the City currently pays to Metrolinx. The City is working towards a new 10-year agreement with Metrolinx.
The Presto Smartcard Operating Agreement will be considered by Council on December 14, 2017.