Friday 16 November 2007

Letter to the Mayor on Transit Fares

I sent an email to the mayors office recently. Here is part of it:

I am sure the mayor's office is familiar with basic economic concepts such as elasticity of demand. Let me suggest that we may be at the point where increasing fares could result in less revenue and an increased burden on the city. There are a two main reasons for this:

a) parking in downtown Winnipeg is relatively cheap. Saving money is the primary motivator for most people to take public transit, so as the cost of riding the bus approaches the cost of parking downtown, the incentive is reduced.

b) the increase breaks a psychological and convenience barrier. It is a simple matter to pay for transit using a toonie, but I suspect that increasing the price above two dollars will discourage many people from taking transit if they have other alternatives.

I believe the city should encourage use of public transit and is misguided in this latest increase. While attempting to increase revenues for future improvements, you may actually find that revenues decrease, or increase only marginally, while taking more money out of the pockets of those who have no choice but to use transit ... and I am sure you know that most of those people are part of a low income demographic.

To summarize, I recommend that you reconsider the transit fare increase. It will reduce ridership and add to the burden of low income users while failing in it's purpose of generating additional revenues for the City.

The response: "Please be assured that your comments are valued and will be brought to the Mayor's attention."

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