Edmonton’s Transit Strategy recommends a new Fare Policy to provide guidance on fares, discounts and how best to recover transit costs. Approved by City Council in November 2019, the new Fare Policy supports a fair, equitable and affordable transit service.
What This Would Mean to Customers
A new fare structure:
- Provides strategic direction on how to set transit fares, based on the four approved principles:
- Sets discounts in a consistent manner
A target for cost recovery that:
- Balances how much of transit operating costs are covered by riders’ fares versus municipal taxes
- Offers price that are fair for all users
- Is affordable for people who most depend on transit
- Encourages 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 operating costs, with fares and other non-fare revenue covering the remaining 40-45% 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 distance-based fare options in the future
- Rewarding - this principle ensures discounts for those who use transit regularly
Public Engagement History
The new Fare Policy is based on a commitment to affordability and equity. Public feedback will help refine the recommended fare discounts and cost recovery target in the coming years.
Earlier public engagement results show strong support for providing discounts to Edmontonians in financial need. From April to July 2018, close to 3,900 citizens shared their thoughts about setting discounts for various customers, such as seniors, youth and low income.
We also asked the public whether we should recover transit operating costs in the same range as other similar cities. In Edmonton, 40-45% of costs are covered by fares and other non-fare revenue, as compared to 40-60% in other communities. The remainder is funded by municipal taxes.
A new Fare Policy was approved by City Council in November 2019, and will become effective February 1, 2020.
This policy will also guide how fare programs and innovative discounts or promotions are set 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.
Major changes to fares, effective February 1, include:
- Free transit for qualified low-income seniors.
- A reduced discount for regular seniors’ fare products. A seniors’ monthly pass increases to $34, and will remain at this price until Smart Fare. At that time, monthly maximums for regular seniors would be income-based on a sliding scale.
- Increasing the maximum age of the “youth” category to 24 and under, and eliminating the post-secondary pass in September 2020 (this will NOT impact UPASS).
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.