Transit commission considers OC Transpo premium
Published Thursday, February 24, 2011 5:21PM EST
Ottawa's transit commission is considering a plan that would charge a premium for OC Transpo users who live outside city limits.
The premium would help close the gap of what out of town commuters don't pay in property taxes. It might also help unclog crammed buses and jammed park and rides.
"(The buses) are full with people from Rockland, Kemptville and Carleton Place," said Coun. Steve Blais, who introduced the motion.
"These are people who don't pay Ottawa property tax; they don't pay the urban transit levy; but they can buy an adult express pass for the same price."
He says it's not about penalties; rather it's about making sure everyone pays for the services they use.
While the premium would make it more expensive for out of town commuters who use the city's buses and park and rides; it's unclear how much that premium would cost.
Blais has asked for a market analysis to determine the feasibility of the plan.
"Obviously there's a breaking point at which point some people would get back into their cars," he said. "We're going to have to find the price that will still allow people to use public transit at an affordable rate and generate additional revenues for the city."
Ottawa commuters who pay for the service through their property taxes think it's a good idea.
"I think they probably should have to pay more because it's a service for us who do pay property taxes," said transit user Jennifer Thomas.
"I think they should start paying. It's not really fair for us," added transit user Dominic Ngo.
But in Arnprior, the proposal is not going over well.
"Personally, I don't think it's fair," said one Arnprior resident.
"They're taking the bus, so their car isn't crowding the street," added another.
The premium is being considered as part of the 2012 city budget.
With a report from CTV Ottawa's John Hua