Edmonton’s Transit Strategy recommends creating a new Fare Policy to provide guidance on fares, discounts and how best to recover transit costs. If approved by City Council, the new Fare Policy would support a fair, equitable and affordable transit service.
What This Would Means to Customers
A new fare structure would:
- Set discounts in a consistent manner
- Work with a Smart Fare electronic payment system
A target for cost recovery that would:
- Balance how much of transit operating costs are covered by riders fares versus municipal taxes
- Offer fare rates that are fair for all users
- Be affordable for people who most depend on transit
- Encourage more transit use by rewarding frequent riders with discounted fares
Fares Reflect Our Values and Goals for Transit
Fare Policy Principles
- Balanced - this principle recognizes transit provides public benefits for all Edmontonians, so the City would continue to fund more than half of transit the operating costs, with fares and other non-fare revenue covering the remaining 40 to 45 per cent of costs
- Affordable - this principle establishes consistent and easy to understand discounts for vulnerable populations including low income seniors, youth and individuals with disabilities
- Equitable - this principle allows for a distance-based fare option in the future
- Rewarding - this principle ensures there are discounts for those who use transit regularly
Public Engagement History
The new draft Fare Policy is underpinned by a commitment to fairness and affordability. Public feedback will help refine the recommended fare discount levels and cost recovery target in the coming years.
Earlier public engagement results show strong support for providing transit fare discounts to Edmontonians in financial need. From April to July 2018, close to 3,900 citizens share their thoughts about setting discounts for various types of customers, such as seniors, youth and low income. Should these groups each receive the same amount of discount or should discounts vary by age or income level?
We also asked the public whether our City should recover transit operating costs in the same range as other similar cities? In Edmonton, 40%-45% of costs are covered by customer fares and other non-fare revenues as compared to 40%-60% in other communities. The remainder is funded by municipal taxes.
A new Fare Policy will be considered by City Council in 2019. If approved, the new Fare Policy could possibly be phased in starting in early 2020.
This transit Fare Policy will also guide how fares and discounts are set up in the future Smart Fare electronic payment system for the Edmonton Metropolitan Region.
Frequently Asked Questions
Fare discounts can ensure Edmontonians have an affordable and accessible transit system. This can help the city achieve many of its community goals, such as reducing traffic congestion, improving air quality and providing transportation to people who cannot afford to drive. Affordable transit helps reduce social isolation, provides access to employment and training opportunities and supports community involvement.
The major proposed changes to fares would include:
- Free transit for qualified low-income seniors
- An increased cost for regular seniors fare products. In 2020, seniors' monthly passes would increase from $15 to $35. Monthly seniors passes will be held at $35 until ETS transitions to Smart Fare. At that time, monthly maximums for regular seniors would be income-based on a sliding scale. Low-income seniors would continue to ride for free.
- Increase the age of the “youth” category to 24 years and under and eliminate the post-secondary pass (this will NOT impact UPass customers)
The majority of seniors surveyed online indicated they were willing to pay $45 to $75 for a monthly pass so that discounts could be passed along to other riders who may need them more.