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HRM moves one step closer to 25 cent fare increase for adult, senior transit riders

Councillor Tim Outhit addressed concerns about the price hike head on, saying even with this increase, HRM transit fees would remain some of the lowest in the entire country
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Inside a Halifax Transit bus (Meghan Groff/HalifaxToday.ca)

Halifax Regional Council moved one step closer to increasing the cost of using transit, with a proposal to add 25 cents to the fare passing first reading at Tuesday's meeting.

A number of councillors expressed reservations about making it more expensive to ride the bus, but the motion passed anyway by a vote of nine to six.

According to Global News, the fee increase will affect all riders, except for those under 12 - as council also approved a new six month long pilot project for those children to receive free transit passes.

This fee increase is lower than that which was originally proposed back in July after seniors, and other transit advocates took up the fight against adding barriers to transit ridership. At Tuesday's meeting, Councillor Tim Outhit said they are shooting themselves in the foot with this increase, because other cities are looking at making transit free.

Meanwhile, Councillor Sam Austin urged his colleagues to support the initiative, adding HRM transit fares are some of the lowest in the country, and will retain that title even after the modest price hike. Halifax last increased fares six years ago in 2013.

Halifax Transit made it clear delaying this increase would cost the city money, as the increases had already been built into their project budget after being included in, and approved in the HRM's 2019-2020 budget process.

Transit staff said throwing the budget into question would affect ongoing or planned transit projects.

Council also agreed to request a supplementary report looking at income levels of seniors who are regular bus users, while looking at a partnership with local education centres about a student transit pass.

if the proposal passes second reading, adult riders will pay $2.75, while seniors, as well as children between 12 and 17 years old will pay two dollars.

A date and time for second reading of the motion has not yet been set.




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