Translink con­sid­er­ing charg­ing by dis­tance in­stead of by zone

The Miracle - - National & Int - Source: Van­cou­ver Sun Source:

You could pay for tran­sit by the dis­tance you travel in­stead of by zone under new changes TransLink is propos­ing to the pub­lic. TransLink is ask­ing rid­ers to weigh in on two op­tions, one where rapid tran­sit (in­clud­ing SeaBus) and buses are both dis­tance-based, and an­other where rapid-tran­sit rid­ers would pay per-kilo­me­tre-trav­elled, but bus rid­ers would be charged a low, flat rate. The changes be­ing con­sid­ered wouldn’t re­sult in an in­crease or de­crease in rev­enue, said An­drew Devlin, TransLink man­ager of pol­icy de­vel­op­ment. “TransLink has no in­ten­tion of grow­ing our pot of rev­enues of fares.” The changes are be­ing pro­posed after twothirds of the 43,000 re­spon­dents to ear­lier fare-re­view sur­veys said they wanted to ditch the zone sys­tem be­cause the bound­aries were ar­bi­trary and pe­nal­ized those who trav­elled short dis­tances over one or two bound­aries. Under the new pro­posed fare sys­tem, those rid­ers will likely see their fares go down, along with those who ride the SeaBus, ac­cord­ing to TransLink. For in­stance, the SkyTrain trip for the four kilo­me­tres from Joyce Sta­tion to Metro­town Sta­tion, now a two-zone fare of $4.10, would drop to $2.20, said Devlin. Those who would pay more would in­clude those who travel long dis­tances within one zone, and those, if the dis­tance-based pricing in­cludes buses, who travel more than five kilo­me­tres by bus. All rid­ers would pay a min­i­mum fare for any trip under five kilo­me­tres, which TransLink said is the equiv­a­lent of three to four sta­tions on rapid tran­sit. It would re­main the same as a one-zone fare charged to­day, $2.20. Devlin wouldn’t pro­vide the per­cent­age of trips under five kilo­me­tres, but said that 60 per cent of all trips on tran­sit are 10 km or shorter. And fares would max out at the same amount they do now, mean­ing no one rider would pay more than the $5.60 three-zone fare they do now, he said. TransLink is also ask­ing for ideas on dis­counts for fre­quent users, such as a pre­paid pass or pay­ing-as-you-go with a fare cap, an idea that re­ceived “strong sup­port” from pre­vi­ous sur­vey re­spon­dents, it said. The pre­paid pass would pro­vide un­lim­ited trips for a monthly fee, as the monthly pass does now, and the fare cap would al­low rid­ers to store value on a card in small in­cre­ments but re­ceive free trips if they reached a min­i­mum num­ber of trips, for ex­am­ple, per month. That would al­low those who couldn’t af­ford to buy monthly passes vol­ume dis­counts, said TransLink. Jes­sica Liang would ben­e­fit from dis­tance-based pricing be­cause she lives in Colling­wood in Van­cou­ver near the Burn­aby bound­ary and it costs her a two-zone fare to visit her fam­ily in Burn­aby, one sta­tion away. She usu­ally The strat­egy also in­cludes a prom­ise to in­tro­duce new leg­is­la­tion that “will re­quire the fed­eral gov­ern­ment to main­tain a Na­tional Hous­ing Strat­egy and re­port to Par­lia­ment on hous­ing tar­gets and out­comes.” A new fed­eral hous­ing ad­vo­cate will be tasked with ad­vis­ing the fed­eral gov­ern­ment and the Canada Mort­gage and Hous­ing Cor­po­ra­tion (CMHC) of pos­si­ble so­lu­tions to the af­ford­able hous­ing short­age. The strat­egy also prom­ises to cre­ate a na­tional hous­ing coun­cil to help the gov­ern­ment keep the na­tional hous­ing strat­egy on the rails. There will also be a na­tional com­mu­ni­ca­tions cam­paign that over a “mul­ti­year” pe­riod would help bet­ter in­form “pub­lic views on dif­fer­ent hous­ing types and tenures.” Na­tional hous­ing co-in­vest­ment fund The strat­egy in­cludes $15.9 bil­lion for a na­tional hous­ing co-in­vest­ment fund that will pro­vide $4.7 bil­lion in fi­nan­cial con­tri­bu­tions and $11.2 bil­lion in low in­ter­est loans waits un­til off-peak times to save the extra fare. “It’s only fair to ask peo­ple to pay for the dis­tances they travel,” she said. .risztina Vasarhe­lyi, who lives in Port Moody and com­mutes to Rich­mond by SkyTrain, bus and the Canada Line, said, “I’m just on the bor­der of the zones. I have to pay three zones based on the zon­ing sys­tem, while on the dis­tance sys­tem, it’ll be much more eq­ui­table.” Mis­cha Buza oc­ca­sion­ally buses to Lan­g­ley and ex­pe­ri­ence glitches on the Com­pass-card sys­tem and doubts whether the pro­posed changes will be fairer. “They just want to charge what they can,” she said, re­fer­ring to mo­bil­ity pricing be­ing con­tem­plated by a com­mis­sion. Gor­don Price, a fel­low with Si­mon Fraser Univer­sity’s Cen­tre for Di­a­logue, said dis­tance-based pricing may fur­ther pe­nal­ize those who be­cause of hous­ing af­ford­abil­ity issues have to live far­ther from a city’s more ex­pen­sive core, or, “put an­other way, pro­vides a ben­e­fit (cheaper fares) to those who can af­ford it.” He also ques­tioned whether the tech­nol­ogy for tap­ping off buses would work, con­sid­er­ing that TransLink had prob­lems with the read­ers and con­ges­tion on buses with the Com­pass-card roll­out. And, he said, dis­tance-based pricing for buses leads to the ques­tion of why we don’t im­ple­ment mo­bil­ity pricing for ve­hi­cles on roads. The pub­lic can pro­vide feed­back un­til Dec. 8 through an on­line sur­vey. TransLink will put to­gether a fi­nal pro­posal of changes for one more round of pub­lic con­sul­ta­tion in the spring be­fore for­ward­ing the rec­om­men­da­tions to the TransLink board for a fi­nal de­ci­sion, said Devlin. Some of the other ideas it looked at were a flat fare for the whole sys­tem, which was re­jected be­cause it would re­sult in fares in­creas­ing by 20 per cent, and a re­fined zone sys­tem, dropped be­cause it was deemed not to be sim­ple or fair. Devlin said the changes, which in­clude a pos­si­ble per-kilo­me­tre in­cre­men­tal charge, which would mean a rider trav­el­ling 100 me­tres would pay the same as some­one trav­el­ling 999 m, will be fine­tuned be­fore the fi­nal rec­om­men­da­tions. to de­vel­op­ers that meet cer­tain cri­te­ria in­clud­ing en­sur­ing that: 30 per cent of units in a de­vel­op­ment will rent for less than 80 per cent of me­dian mar­ket rents for at least 20 years. At least a 25 per cent re­duc­tion in en­ergy con­sump­tion and green­house gas emis­sions over na­tional build­ing and en­ergy codes. 20 per cent of units meet ac­ces­si­bil­ity stan­dards. The fed­eral gov­ern­ment’s sup­port will not come by way of mone­tary com­mit­ments alone, but will in­clude a $200 mil­lion trans­fer of fed­eral lands to hous­ing providers on con­di­tion that they meet en­vi­ron­men­tal, so­cioe­co­nomic and af­ford­abil­ity stan­dards. This fund­ing en­ve­lope will, the gov­ern­ment says, help build 60,000 of the promised 100,000 new af­ford­able hous­ing units, re­pair 240,000 of the 300,000 units in need of ren­o­va­tions, cre­ate 7,000 shel­ter places, 12,000 new af­ford­able units for se­niors and an­other 2,400 af­ford­able units for peo­ple with de­vel­op­men­tal dis­abil­i­ties.

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