transit

Bus Safety by Greg Gallinger

Fort Rouge Coun. Jenny Gerbasis, quoted in The Uniter:

“If we want our transit system to grow and encourage more environmentally friendly transportation we need a transit system people feel safe riding,”

I disagree with many of the points made in this article. I am not in favour of a transit police. Although union leaders are claiming a rise in violence "not just related to fares,” significant data proving this has yet to be disclosed.

As a regular transit user I often see minor conflicts arise while riding the bus. I've seen people verbally assault the driver or other riders, but these instances are few and far between and rarely result in physical violence. That's not to say that doesn't ever happen, but I doubt the risk of violence is enough to necessitate turning Winnipeg's transit system into an Orwellian themed dark ride.

Rather than calling on the Cadets, Winnipeg Transit should be looking at improving its service in order to quell potential conflicts.

The report detailed efforts on technological modifications to buses, including cameras, fare counters and safety shields

City buses already utilize surveillance cameras, and implementing safety shields will only protect the driver. Fare counters certainly won't do anything to help the problem, as has been seen with turnstiles, these types of fare collection/enforcement methods only lead to further frustration and the potential for confrontation.

Perhaps improving service and ensuring the safety of riders would have a positive impact and deter violence. Adding more frequent buses to higher traffic routes; improving bus shelters (more whether proofing, better lighting), little improvements that go a long way in making the service more pleasant.

Yearly transit passes by Greg Gallinger

Amy Groening, writing at The Uniter:

The Universal Transit Pass, or U-Pass, would provide eligible students with unlimited access to Winnipeg Transit services during the fall and winter semesters, in exchange for a tuition fee increase of an estimated $150 to $200 for the year.

Why just eligible students, I'm a wage worker and a tax paying resident, why can't I buy a yearly transit pass?

I hate buying transit passes. I usually buy monthly passes, but often forget to get a new pass on the first of the month. A yearly pass would be ideal.

The proposed cost of a "U-Pass" mentioned in the article is $150 - $200, that seems pretty low considering monthly passes for students currently cost $61.60.

Because I'm pretty awful at math I've always assumed buying a monthly pass (at full rate because I'm not a student) was the most economical option. After reading the above article I decided to investigate the fares a little bit more to determine the approximate yearly cost.

Screen Shot 2012 10 09 at 9 37 56 PM

I was surprised to learn that tickets are the cheapest way to ride, they are also my least favourite to use. Despite this knowledge I'm unlikely to start buying up rolls up tickets like I'm swooping in on the silent auction at a Saturday night social. I'll stick with passes.

But why the discrepancy in price in the first place?

Does Winnipeg Transit keep the cash price lower than passes because they count on the fact that most nobody has a Toonie, a Quarter, and two Dimes and will reluctantly drop $2.50 down the hole because it's more convenient? I know I do (unless I'm short, in which case I'll dump whatever configuration of change I can pass off as the right amount.

With a yearly pass I'd never have to worry about buying a new pass on the first, and I'd never have to fish for change after I forgot to buy a pass and I'm almost late for work.

My experiment in arithmetic also taught me that if Winnipeg Transit allows the U-Pass they will be losing over $500 per student (assuming each student would have purchased a bus pass). This information reinforces my skepticism of the proposed "U-Pass" price.

Given Winnipeg Transit's current pricing scheme it seems more likely that a yearly pass would run the average citizen somewhere in the $900 - $1,000 range and students falling somewhere between $700 - $800.

UPDATE:

I'm glad to see you're all better at math than me as many of you have pointed out I forgot to account for round trips when paying cash. If you're a student or worker transfers won't do you much good for round trips most of the time. Below is a slightly adjusted table of fares that include round trips.

I also forgot to account for the tax rebate that passes qualify for, but I won't bother doing that math.


Screen Shot 2012 10 09 at 11 01 05 PM

So tickets and cash are NOT cheaper if your trips are to and from work/school because transfers would have expired.

That being said, cash can sometimes work out to be a better deal if you don't ride the bus everyday and are able catch the occasional ride home.