Wednesday, 21 December 2011

A tale of two Manitoba transit systems

Brandon Transit - Modern

Back in In October I blogged from the Brandon city council meeting about Brandon Transit's proposed transit fare strategy. In a nutshell: greatly reduce fares and eliminate free transfers. The expected result is increased ridership, especially from those making short distance trips and traveling at non-peak times.

First proposed in September, it went through a number of citizen panels and presentations before being fine tuned and presented to council.

 Brandon Transit 1957 GMC

Things must have gone well because the City of Brandon has just announced that effective January 1, 2012, the adult cash fare will decrease by 47%, from its current $2.15 to $1.15 and ticket prices will drop by 41%. Youth and Senior fares will decrease by 45% for both cash fares and tickets. (Here's the 2012 fee schedule.)

Now compare that to Winnipeg's strategy: 20 cent additional increase that Councillor Swandel pulled out of his fare box just before the EPC meeting. The expectation here is that ridership would remain the same or continue to grow, resulting in Transit raking in additional cash.

I'm interested to see how the competing fare strategies work out.

Welcome to my bus ... next stop: HELLLLLLL
That's it, I'm buying my own pirate bus !

As someone who has lived in, or just outside, downtown for 20 years I have often wondered what effect a lower fare would have. It's rarely worth it, (at least in my mind), to take a $4.90 round trip when going downtown to meet someone for lunch or doing other short-term errands when my gas use is minimal any my parking, at worst, will be $3 or $4. (Winnipeg Girl sums up the same idea in this post post from earlier this year.)

We'll get to see how Brandon's riders react.

P.S. - it's been pointed out to me on Twitter of this post that doing away with the free transfer may prove a hard pill to swallow due to the hub an spoke system BT uses. (Note, though, the fare reduction is almost in half so for single transfer users the fare remains essentially the same.)

Brandon Transit system stats Canadian Transit Systems


Winnipeg Girl said...

Your own PIRATE bus??!!! Shiver me timbers, I best be gettin' one too! Arggggg, but me be guessin' they cost more than me can plunder.

Let the record show I am not actually mocking your typo as such, since I am very aware you can spell, rather I am showing how easily I amuse. Please don't correct it :)

On a serious note - great idea Brandon! I do enjoy that perhaps they used to (or are planning to) introduce off-peak fares - is there really that much of a rush hour that it would be required?

mrchristian said...

No, I DO mean a pirate bus. I could drive myself everywhere ! The added bonus is that people I pick up along the way wold help subsidize my trips.

There's great parking right at the front door of many popular shops and other buildings - I could just leave it idling if I ever go to a Jets game !

I've tried driving a transit bus before and must say that I would have to stick to a Portage Avenue route. Tight turns are tricky !