In this proposal there are many suggested reductions and revenue increases. There are also no expansions included. This is how the 1.58% base budget was arrived at by staff.
As I’ve said in an earlier post to you, the budget is now in councils hands to decide what to accept. As a “build-a-budget” model I or any councillor can add to the base budget expansions, disagree with reductions and add them back in or lower proposed fee increases.
Then again, I or any councillor could agree with the proposed base budget as presented by staff and that would be it.
In every budget there is usually an item that makes its way to the top of the media and citizens radar and this year is no different. This item is transit.
Staff have proposed a rate increase and reduction of service times on Sunday’s, the summer and holidays. The proposal goes like this, as written by the Guelph Mercury article HERE:
“The operating budget proposes raising transit fares by $5 for a monthly pass, $1 for an adult cash fare and 40 cents for single adult tickets. The adult affordable bus pass would also increase by $2.50″….”Guelph Transit is also proposing reducing the frequency of buses from 30 minutes to one-hour service on Sundays, holidays and through the summer.”
I also asked transit staff for a chart showing the history of fare increases because I’ve already had emails from individuals saying there’s been fare increases for the last five years. This chart clarifies this for you indicating there’s been no increase since 2012:
So I’ll go on the record right now, so you all know where I am on this issue. I believe we need a fare increase. I’m not yet sure to what amount but I will be voting for a fare increase. I also will be voting for service going from 30 minutes at some times to hourly.
Stats from our professional staff indicate:
- Average Sunday ridership is 8,091
- On holidays it is 3,862, compared with weekday ridership of 22,291 and Saturday ridership of 12,945.
- Since the introduction of the Council-approved transit route system in 2013, ridership growth and revenues have been lower than anticipated, resulting in revenue projections not being realized.
- Guelph Transit has assessed ridership volumes and determined that a reduction in Sunday, holiday and summer service frequency would have the least impact on transit riders.
Please remember, transit is already subsidized by almost 50% by the overall taxpayers across the city.
Like anything proposed within our budgets I want you to know I take each and every item seriously. I take staff’s opinion seriously and of course I take yours as well!
This is why on Nov 30th we have a night dedicated to you only – to voice your support or concerns with any proposal found within the budget. If you want to tell us how you feel you can email us as well. By emailing email@example.com you can send us all emails or sign up to speak. More info HERE.
Will I change my mind on this transit proposal before Dec 9th? Perhaps. I’ve done it before. If new information is presented, if delegates, staff or fellow councillors speak to an issue that brings a new perspective to light – then I can certainly change my mind.
However, this one singular issue must be weighed against the needs and affordability of the whole city. Whether you’re a transit user or not.
Tough decisions are going to have to be made.
I have a 50% chance of pushing the YES or NO button while voting. Yet it is 100% certain that 50% of you will not like which button I push.