Transit Windsor wants to hike fares 10% or reduce service
Gas prices, higher wages said to be creating a $600,000 budget shortfall in 2014
Transit Windsor is asking for a fare increase, again.
It says it needs money to continue providing a stable and improved service.
City council turned down a 10-per-cent increase earlier this year. But Transit's board of directors and management say the bus service needs $600,000 just to balance the 2014 operating budget.
General manager Penny Williams says the city-owned bus company is facing a number of pressures.
"We have about $300,000 in wage increases, and then we have some other challenges as well, with the fuel and all of our costs are escalating," she said.
Fuel costs alone have risen 28 per cent over the past six years, while fares have remained relatively constant.
If the 10-per-cent increase is approved by council during budget meetings later in the year, the adult, student and senior cash fares would jump by a quarter next year.
The price of tickets and monthly passes would also increase.
Williams says normally when fares are raised, there's a decrease in ridership, but people eventually return.
If council once again says denies an increase, bus service would be reduced.
"This is not taken lightly and administration didn't put forth that recommendation without a lot of thought," said Coun. Bill Marra, who also chairs the transit board. "The reality is, Transit Windsor runs on a very, very lean operating budget."
Council is being asked for a joint meeting to discuss developing a long-term, sustainable strategy for the bus company.