Halifax may mull transit fare hikes, but not this year

The director of Halifax Transit, Dave Reage, acknowledged Tuesday that fares have not increased in five years and are among the lowest in the country.

Transit director says fares have not risen in 5 years, among lowest in Canada

(Robert Short/CBC)

Halifax officials are hinting that transit fares could be increased — but not this year.

Coun. Russell Walker raised the issue Tuesday at a meeting of Halifax regional council.

"Are you going to look at fare increases? Because the revenues are not covering the costs, not even close," said Walker.

Walker also pointed out there are plans for new services, such as rapid bus routes.

The director of Halifax Transit, Dave Reage, acknowledged that fares have not increased in five years and are among the lowest in the country.

He said a fare hike was not included in last year's two-year budget plan, so the earliest it would be brought to council for consideration is in time for the next round of budget consultations.

Currently, fares for conventional buses, ferries and Access-A-Bus are $2.50 for an adult and $1.75 for a senior or child. Fares are higher for the MetroLink or MetroX service.

Coun. Tim Outhit cautioned his colleagues to be careful when considering a fare increase.

"Our ridership is finally just starting to get back to what it was before the [transit] strike and the last fare increase," he said. "We want people to use the buses."  

Outhit said he doesn't have a problem charging higher rates for premium service, such as the rapid bus routes. He also said he would like to see a zone system implemented.

"To jump on at Spring Garden and go to Scotia Square should not necessarily cost the same as jumping on in Bedford."