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Free transit


JohnWhelan
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https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/ottawa/fare-free-public-transit-ottawa-1.6279951

I think studies have shown that usage goes up by about 60% and you save about 10% on collecting the fares.  If it moves a few people from cars then it's environmentally friendly.  Downside would be the information from the presto cards is useful in working out where people travel to optimise routes.

It's cheaper to move people by public transit in space terms, comparing something like the capacity of the 417 and the light rail system.

https://freetransitottawa.ca/

Any thoughts?

Thanks John

 

 

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I would love to see cheaper transit, Not free. There are a lot of things fares would still need to pay for. Also right now running a free month of service in what is a slow period for transit ridership (with covid and less people commuting to work), is a good thing to help get riders back but this is not a long term sustainable practice. I still believe that there needs to be a lot more done to improve transit in most cities but the issue is cost. By cutting fares you now have to potentially add more buses to routes and that is a higher cost to operate the transit system. If I were Ottawa council and the mayor I would push for reducing transit fares to say 2 dollars. Maybe even do a peak period fare system like in Vancouver. During the busier times it costs a little more then off peak times. This way we can get more people on transit but at the same time we can get more buses or trains to help with the increased demand, and it won't cost taxpayers as much. 

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Ottawa tried a two fare system Cash(peak and non peak times not express but regular routes)yeas ago. It really didn't work out that well.

 

As for public transit, its not that simple. If it takes you 30 mins to get from East to west by car, but it takes you 90 mins by bus, the car is the way to go.

 

Example my mother is in a rehab(medical reasons) Fair Field Inn in Kanata, it takes me 90 mins to go see her by bus(2), but if I drove it would only be about 40 mins by car.

 

Taking public transit isn't always the best option, it may save you money and maybe good for the environment.

 for time in most case it takes longer by public transit then by car(non peak and deprending on where your going.

 

I remember in the mid 1970,s I could take the 53(at that time( from Walkly Road-Heron-Baseline-Clyde-Carling to Carlingwood Mall no transfers in about 40-50 or so mins. Now I itakes me over 1 hour and have to tranfser 

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1 hour ago, MCIBUS said:

30 mins

Takes way less actually. Usually 15 mins via 417 from Bayshore to Blair. Probably 30 mins from Kanata to PDO.

I'd be happy to pay current fares if we had a pre Jimbo optimized system. But for the fact that they keep cutting the routes and making Cuts within cuts, like the quality is just asinine, so much so,  I rather spend $200 on gas, $170 on insurance and maintenance cost than take this freaking joke of a system that we have. I remember them during the commission trying to flex that we have cheaper fares than many GTA systems and the STO, but you compare all forms transit from the TTC vs OC Transpo, is NOTHING. Even comparing frequencies of mainline bus routes, like the 39 and 75 (or as we like to call it, the 95) or even the MAIN train for OC, you're waiting longer than you would for a street car on any route on the TTC

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6 hours ago, JohnWhelan said:

Downside would be the information from the presto cards is useful in working out where people travel to optimise routes.

Any thoughts?

That's a pretty minor downside. How about, where do you realistically get the close to, if not more than, $200 million to replace fare and advertising revenues?

Where does the funding (capital and operating) come from for all of the new service created by free transit?

 

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Should fare be free? No but it should be heavily subsidized vs what it costs now, 2-2.50 a fare + transfer is around the perfect range to encourage riders. Bus pass to not exceed more than 90$

the problem with Ottawa isn’t the fact that people pay high fares, it’s that’s people pay fares to travel 2+ hours one way to get to/from work. This isn’t an OC problem, it’s a city of Ottawa problem. Most cities run a grid system with a residential network to support itself. A commuter/passenger commutes should only be 2 transfers. 
 

in Ottawa because our city is so large and has so much “dead space” it’s impossible for a commuter to have an easy travel. Ottawa needs to refocus and restructure their network so everything someone needs is along 1 bus route, and work is at most 2. 
 

Use the TTC as an example, someone walks 10 minutes and hops on a grid route that takes them down, then another to take them east/west ( both 10 min or better ) and bam they’re close to their destination. Here it’s a local route that runs every 30, a rapid route that’s every 15, a train, and then another bus to their final spot because our network is only designed for government workers 

don’t make fare free. Make a system worth paying for 

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On 12/13/2021 at 10:09 PM, M. Parsons said:

That's a pretty minor downside. How about, where do you realistically get the close to, if not more than, $200 million to replace fare and advertising revenues?

Where does the funding (capital and operating) come from for all of the new service created by free transit?

 

If you think about it the people who live in Ottawa are paying for transit, making it free means the number of passengers goes up but that is marginal cost.  So the cost per trip goes down.  At the moment half the income comes from property taxes, if you look at seniors on average they take the bus less frequently since most don't go to work each day but still pay half the cost of transit.  When they do catch transit they do so at mainly off peak hours.  So the present system isn't exactly friendly to seniors.

I think we're looking at giving low cost tickets to certain groups.  Fine but it comes at a cost.  Those who know how to apply get a cheap ticket but often those who need it don't have the skill set to apply.

If you're driving out to Kanata then I would think anything you can do to reduce the number of cars on the Queensway would be helpful.  We could build yet another lane, but that is expensive and has much less capacity for carrying people than the light rail system.  Then you get the reduced number of accidents, less pollution etc so the total cost to the population isn't that high.

I think TTC only works in some areas.  Even TTC is thinking of putting in light rail or even subways.

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When it comes right down to it it's all about $$$$$. You have to pay for it some how by fares & taxes. Free transit means higher taxes to pay for it. Property taxes goes up  on average 2-3% per year take away transit revenue via fares and the tax in crease will go way up for transit by property taxes.

 

I can't comment on those that pay rent on how it effects them, but property owners are getting fed up with constant tax increases. There are a lot of property owners or others(renters) that don't take public transit and never will regardless  if it's free. Why? Travel time & convince(knowing you'll get there, because if you take public transit you don't if your bus will show up{canceled trip} or be late or have to make multipole transfers)?

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I have said this in the past and I will say it now, free fares are not the way to go. For those concerned with costs of how the network operates one thing that can happen to make sure we have the funding to improve service without raising property taxes is to do other things to raise money. Say an extra 1-2% tax on hotel stays, maybe a slight toll on certain highways such as the DVP and Gardener in Toronto. Capped tolls though so it doesn't get out of hand. 

Little things like that can go a long way to improving service on transit systems, not just Ottawa but all over Ontario. Some of the money raised can also go towards regional services such as Megabus or Rider Express. This way it can help keep things going so they don't meet the same fate that as Greyhound. 

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15 hours ago, brianc1981 said:

I have said this in the past and I will say it now, free fares are not the way to go. For those concerned with costs of how the network operates one thing that can happen to make sure we have the funding to improve service without raising property taxes is to do other things to raise money. Say an extra 1-2% tax on hotel stays, maybe a slight toll on certain highways such as the DVP and Gardener in Toronto. Capped tolls though so it doesn't get out of hand. 

Little things like that can go a long way to improving service on transit systems, not just Ottawa but all over Ontario. Some of the money raised can also go towards regional services such as Megabus or Rider Express. This way it can help keep things going so they don't meet the same fate that as Greyhound. 

I agree, free fares are not the way to go. More reasonable fares, yes, but not no fares. But I disagree on the funding source.

Municipal transit is deeply local, so I think property taxes are the way to go. It's basically a guaranteed fare subsidy, and households that once spent money on monthly passes and ePurse fares will have some/most of it diverted to their property taxes to the same tax sink--some might end up paying less, because every household will pay for it. Unfortunately, households that don't use transit will also pay more into a system they don't use, but it is a way to incentivise the city to take advantage of the extra revenue to provide extra service (maybe after upgrading the current service infrastructure), perhaps stronger community-centric services (probably post-Watson/Hubley). The argument is much more complex than just a few sentences, but it's a point of view. Under that structure, any proposed road tolls should strictly be used to fund road-related costs.

We shouldn't rely on hotels and visitors as a tax-based revenue source for municipal transit. Good locally-funded service will translate to good service for fare-paying visitors.

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5 hours ago, Waiting for 30 Minutes said:

We shouldn't rely on hotels and visitors as a tax-based revenue source for municipal transit. Good locally-funded service will translate to good service for fare-paying visitors.

Agreed, especially during the pandemic but an additional tax source to help build good transit will entice more local people to take it without feeling like they are forced to pay for it out of property taxes. Property taxes could be used for other things and possibly slightly lowered even by say a half percent, and the other revenue from hotel stays or small tolls on highways would work to make up the difference and even additional costs. In the Vancouver area there is a big transit tax added into the gas revenue. When that happened a lot of local residences property taxes went down slightly or didn't raise for a few years. 

I just believe there needs to be alternative ways to pay for transit as there are lots of people that have a hard time paying property taxes as it is especially in Toronto area. I know this is a thread regarding free fares in Ottawa, but even this principal applies universally. Currently there needs to be alternative ways to fund transit without having a major reliance of money coming from the farebox. If transit fares are lowered there needs to be a way to pay for it that doesn't include spiking property taxes significantly. Another significant source of revenue needs to be made to go towards future transit projects such as the LRT expansions in Ottawa, especially if there are more issues that have plagued line 1 to begin with, and it requires a lot of money to fix those issues. There are lots of other transit projects on the go in the GTA and those need to be funded and having alternative ways to raise money goes a long way to building the transit lines, or to even adding more buses to the fleet to allow for more frequent service. 

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https://www.realestatemagazine.ca/do-residential-tenants-pay-property-tax-of-course-they-do/?amp
 

essentially, the renter pays the property tax in their rent, whether they know it or not. That’s why when people rent someone’s owned house and they wonder why rent is so “high” it’s because the property tax Is most likely included in that rental rate + whatever utilities.
 

So yes even renters are paying towards the cities taxes. 

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23 minutes ago, MCIBUS said:

I could be mistaken but I do not beleive land owners(of dwellings)pay transit levy on their tax bills?

As far as I know, there's no distinction. It's all just considered residential (or multi-residential) property, and the levy is applied to all, assuming the property is within the urban transit area.

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13 hours ago, OCCheetos said:

As far as I know, there's no distinction. It's all just considered residential (or multi-residential) property, and the levy is applied to all, assuming the property is within the urban transit area.

Correct. The landlord's property tax bill has all the charges of an owner's property tax bill, which then gets passed on to the tenant.

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