New year, new transit fares. Calgary's transit rates are going up (from $90 to $94 for my monthly pass), but the big story is the senior's pass increase, which is going from $35/year to $55/year. (Low-income seniors are still able to ride for $15/year, and it should be noted that a senior's pass cannot be used for Access Calgary rides.) Meanwhile, in Halifax, the push is for seniors to ride transit for free, with a petition appearing on the mayor's website this week.
Personally, I'd like to see no fares for transit (recognizing that this would mean transit funding would likely come from increased taxes for all Calgary citizens, including myself). And because I work with seniors, I am very aware that their costs are increasing faster than their incomes are (even those not yet retired).
However, in this case, I think that the City of Calgary has made the right move. If we are to develop a transit system that works for everyone, it needs to be fairly supported by everyone. Giving seniors a break on the pass rate simply because they're 65+, in a world where more and more seniors continue to work after that age, no longer makes sense.
Instead, I'd like to see a move toward two transit rate categories (regular and low income) and then look at how transit fares can be reduced and/or eliminated so that more people can use transit effectively. This is what should be really be part of the discussion on Calgary Transit priorities in 2012 and beyond.
(Cross posted at Witch-Ways, where I've been crafting magic on the internet since 1994.)