Senior Transit Fare Rates
When it comes to altering the City of Calgary transit fare structure there are a couple of things, beyond numbers and cents, which must be kept in mind. First, some groups of transit users may be disproportionately affected by rate increases. Secondly, when it comes to seniors in particular, we must remember that these individuals have supported our city for decades. They have relied on a certain level of fare, and to be honest, deserve a little more respect for their years of commitment to this city. This group is vital to Calgary and for us to increase the rate drastically, without strategically planned incremental steps, may significantly decrease their quality of life. Yes, system sustainability is very important, however, I also feel seniors have earned the right to have their needs, fears, and concerns taken very seriously. I was raised, and raise my children, to respect and care for our elders.
This is a very complex and important issue. It involves the concepts of fairness and sustainability. The transit system, like many other service programs the city offers, is only sustainable when a significant portion of the operational costs are recuperated through user fees. Without collecting these funds, existing services would be significantly reduced, be of lesser quality, and possibly even discontinued. That being said, even though the cost of resources, such as labour, transit units, and fuel continually increase, the fact that we have failed to previously plan for this does not give us a licence to make a significant increase for seniors now.
To me it makes sense to uphold a discount commitment we made to our seniors. I am not saying that the current discount should remain. What I am saying is that our seniors have earned the right to have a strategic plan implemented that takes their view point into account. I believe the city has done a great job in consulting with transit users and developing new flexible discounted single ride fares and creating a Low Income Transit pass option. I also agree fully with the grandfather clause for existing seniors. However, when it comes to the increase of regular senior fare prices, we need to implement the changes differently. I do not believe implementing a more strategic plan over time will break the transit system. Nor, will it significantly decrease the quality of services we provide. It may, however, show the level of respect we have for our seniors and demonstrate the need to find efficiencies within. I am glad the proposed change was voted down in committee.
This content represents the personal views and opinions of the Ward Councillor and should not be taken as a statement of policy of The City of Calgary. The inclusion of any external content does not imply endorsement by The City of Calgary.