An anti-poverty activist in Winnipeg is shaking his head over a city proposal to increase transit fares.
If city council approves the proposed hike, Winnipeg Transit's regular cash fare would jump a quarter to $2.25 on Jan. 1, 2008, an increase of12½ per cent.
Seniors and reduced cash fares would go up by a dime to $1.75, an increase of 5.4 per cent.
Bus tickets would increase by 10 cents per ticket and weekday and weekly passes will increase by roughly $1 each.
The cost of a monthly bus pass would remain the same: $71.25 for a full pass and $48.15 for reduced fares.
David Northcott, head of the Winnipeg Harvest food bank, said the increase will be a direct hit on the city's lower-income people who can't afford monthly bus passes.
"We see most people trying to survive on two or three bus tickets or use cash," he said.
"Oftentimes, folks don't have that cash reserve to buy the bus pass. It's a large commitment of cash."
If the hike passes, it will be more difficult for the working poor to get to their jobs and people on social assistance will have to pay for the increase out of their food budgets, he said.
"How much is a bus pass? Literally it's three weeks' worth of food."
The increase, whichcomes one year after the city froze bus fares, would increase passenger revenue by an estimated $2.2 million in 2008.
The extra money will pay for higher gas prices and a rapid-transit reserve fund, city officials said.
City councillors vote on the fare hike in two weeks.