Cost of student bus pass increases

(Nathan Paton/AQ)

Bruce Grandy announced at Fredericton city council’s 2013 budget speech that in order to balance the budget, some fees and fines increased.

One of those was the Fredericton Transit student bus pass.

The monthly pass increased to $45. Adult passes are $65 and senior passes are $50.

Meaghan Farrah, fourth-year University of New Brunswick student, has used the bus since first year. The pass cost $40 in her first year.

“The increase in cost is frustrating because even though the increase has been gradual, asking $45 a month from students is still a lot, especially where the STU pass is about $75 for a full 12 months.”

UNB students voted 54 per cent against adding a universal bus pass to their tuition last year for $115.

Farrah lives in Lincoln Heights, where the bus doesn’t travel as often. She says it’s frustrating to pay more for a bus route that she can’t use as much as she would like.

“Since the bus travels so infrequently, it is not as convenient as if I lived in town. And paying a monthly $45 fee is a big pain, when I don’t get the same service as others.”

To improve service she suggests the buses wait a few extra minutes at Kings Place so commuters don’t miss their transfers, like she did last week.

Grandy, city councillor and chair of the finance and administration committee, said public transit was the most popular topic during public consultations, and some people suggested bus pass prices were low compared to other cities. Student bus passes cost $47 in Moncton and $60 in Saint John.

“For the student pass, earlier in 2012 council was presented with a five-year rate strategy with increases in various users in different years. This year was the student pass, next year it will be the regular user,” Grandy said.

Some fee increases include renting Odell Lodge, Killarney Lake Lodge, sports fields with lights, Willie O’Ree Place, and the Grant-Harvey Centre. Others are developer related fees for community programs, re-approval of subdivisions, application of subdivisions, stamping fee for subdivision plans, printed copy of Z-2 bylaws and municipal plans, and the rushed zoning request fee.

They plan to decrease spending by such initiatives as selling city-owned properties, and reducing the hours of UNB’s Chapman Field.

Fredericton Transit has also changed some routes, which now go to the Corbett Centre, the Grant-Harvey Centre, Two Nations Crossing, and Cliffe Street. They also bought two smaller buses for less-used routes.

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