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Councillor proposes transit fare freeze for OC Transpo riders in 2024

An OC Transpo bus turns onto Elgin St. from Wellington St. in downtown Ottawa, Ont. in this undated photo. (Photo by Shubham Sharan on Unsplash) An OC Transpo bus turns onto Elgin St. from Wellington St. in downtown Ottawa, Ont. in this undated photo. (Photo by Shubham Sharan on Unsplash)
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An Ottawa councillor wants to freeze transit fares for OC Transpo riders in 2024, proposing the city increase the transit levy an additional one per cent to cover the revenue.

Council will vote Wednesday on the full 2024 city of Ottawa budget, including the Transit Services budget. The draft budget proposes increasing transit fares by an average of 2.5 per cent next year, with the cost of an adult monthly pass increasing $3.25 a month to $128.75.

The Transit Commission has referred a motion from Coun. Shawn Menard to Council that recommends freezing transit fares for a second straight year.

"Ottawa transit riders should not continue to face fare hikes in the context of reduced and inadequate transit service," Menard says in his motion, noting OC Transpo is planning to reduce bus service and the Confederation Line continues to operate at a reduce service level.

Menard's motion says a fare freeze would generate approximately 300,000 resident trips on average in 2024, and "create new long-term ridership."

Coun. Jeff Leiper told the Transit Commission meeting during the budget debate that increasing the transit levy an additional one per cent would add $8 to the average property tax bill.

"Eight dollars a year in order to achieve a fare freeze. Most folks will never even see that in the context of their tax increases," Leiper said.

A 2.5 per cent hike in transit fares would generate $3.8 million in new revenue for OC Transpo.

2024 OC Transpo fare hikes (2023 fares in parentheses)

  • Adult monthly pass - $128.75 ($125.50)
  • Youth monthly pass - $99.25 (96.75)
  • Senior monthly pass - $49 ($47.75)
  • Community monthly pass - $43.25 ($43.25)
  • EquiPass monthly pass - $58.25 ($58.25)
  • U-Pass (per semester) - $229.07 ($223.48)
  • Adult single-ride fare (cash) - $3.85 ($3.75)
  • Senior single-ride fare (cash) - $2.95 ($2.85)

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