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Regional council asked to consider fare freeze for transit

Regional councillor Chantal Huinink will suggest hiking monthly pass from $92 to $99 instead
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The Ainslie Street Grand River Transit terminal viewed from Wellington Street.

A proposed Grand River Transit fare hike next year isn't sitting well with at least one regional councillor who will propose keeping the current cash fare for single trips at $3.75 for at least another year.

Regional councillor Chantal Huinink will bring a notice of motion to the region's strategic planning and budget committee meeting this week, asking the region not go with a proposed fare hike of $4.

Instead, she is proposing a hike in the GRT's monthly pass from the proposed $96 to $99 to generate the revenue GRT says it needs to maintain and expand service.

The monthly pass is currently $92.

In her motion, Huinink says the monthly pass hike would generate as much revenue as the proposed cash fare increase.

A corresponding increase of the discount rate to 52 per cent for the Affordable Transit Program monthly pass would maintain its cost under $48 per month and an increase in the monthly pass to $99 per month amounts to less than the cost of one fare per day, reads her motion, adding it's more in line with the cost of a bus pass in similar municipalities.

Guelph is the only municipality on a list of comparators that charge less, at $89.60 per month. Brampton charges $141.25 for its monthly pass and Hamilton charges $118.80.

"Maintaining the Grand River Transit cash fare at $3.75 for the duration of 2024 will avoid putting greater financial strain on those who pay transit by cash."

Huinink wants the monthly pass increased to $99 effective July 1, 2024 and the discount level on the monthly pass for customers eligible to the Affordable Transit Program be increased to 52 per cent.

The notice of motion will be tabled Wednesday in advance of further budget discussions set for Nov. 29.