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Mayor backs postponing OC Transpo fare hike

Tunney’s Pasture LRT Station. (Photo/Devyn Barrie)

Mayor Jim Watson is on board with an OC Transpo fare freeze, sending a memo Friday afternoon to City Manager Steve Kanellakos and transit commissioners recommending one be implemented.

The recommended freeze would stave off a 2.5 per cent fare hike that was scheduled for January 2020. The freeze would be in effect until March and possibly longer.

Here’s Watson’s full memo:

As you know, our transit users have been experiencing far too many challenging and uncertain commutes over the last month, given the ongoing issues and service interruptions on LRT.

Following the Transit Commission meeting on Wednesday, the need for a temporary fare freeze has become obvious, in order to offer short-term relief for our OC Transpo customers.

To this effect, we will be recommending to Transit Commission and Council a fare freeze from January to March, which is to be covered by the funds withheld from maintenance payments to RTG. We would ask that you take the necessary steps to secure the required funds.

Also, please be prepared to bring forward a funding plan to extend the freeze beyond March 2020, should service to our transit passengers not improve to the City’s satisfaction.

We want to thank the several Councillors and Transit Commissioners who approached us with a sensible proposal for a temporary freeze while we deal with these issues, and for proposing a funding source that would not involve cutting other services. We are grateful for their input and suggestions.

Our hope for our customers certainly remains that issues will have been resolved over the coming months, and that service will have significantly improved and stabilized.