Meeting #8 AGENDA: for Tuesday, January 14, 2020; 1:00 – 3:00 p.m.
- Guest Speaker: Alvin Finkel (Alberta Labour History Institute)
Alvin Finkel is a professor of history at Athabasca University, Alberta. His publications include leading texts in Canadian history, as well as monographs on social policy, western Canadian political history, and interwar European politics. He has published widely on social policy issues. Current book review editor of Labour/Le Travail, Alvin Finkel is also the past editor of Prairie Forum.
- Announcements: (round table; please distinguish clearly between discussion items and announcements!)
- Emergent items:
Edmonton Transit (Laura Kruse, PIA, see below)
Government “engagement” on “Fair Deal”
Committee and Watching Brief Reports: a. Long term care, (Carol); b. Environment, other issues (Cecily); c. Finances (Tim, Robin); d. PIA (Carol); e. Website (Peter); f. Telephone tree (Edda); g. FOM (Nic); h. AFUR (Cathy)
February 14, 7:00 pm: Westwood Unitarian Church (11135 – 65 Avenue), Social Justice movie night; “Flow: for Love of Water”; admission free, snacks and discussion to follow.
February 27, 2020 evening: Parkland Institute’sannual dinner and silent auction; Chateau Lacombe.
April 2 – 3, 2020: PIA Annual conference (save the dates!).
- Agenda items for next meeting: Guest speaker: Afrah Collier-Potts, Clinic Manager, Natural Health Services; topic “Medical Marijuana”.
- Next meeting: Tuesday, January 28, 2020
Edmonton Bus Fares 2020
Some seniors expecting to buy an annual or monthly transit pass this year will need to pay more than double the prior rate when new fares hit the streets in February.
This major hike on pricing for seniors results from the city’s recently-approved fare policy putting a focus on income-based discounts, rather than age-based. The $237.50 increase for an annual senior above age 65 pass and an $18.50 monthly pass hike will allow the city to offer a free annual pass for seniors with an annual income under $28,513.
Edmonton Transit Service will monitor and gain feedback from the public on the changes, which was the first step in gradually implementing a new fare policy as the city prepares to move to a smart fare system starting this fall.
“The policy provides a direction for a balanced approach to fare recovery with a strong focus on affordability, providing discounts to those who need it most,” said Marc Lachance, business strategy and planning manager for ETS, on Wednesday afternoon when the new fares were released. “We understand that seniors have some concerns about the increased rate … we think that the rates are still very reasonable.”
With the new monthly rate of $34, seniors will be paying about 35 per cent of the regular monthly pass rate of $97. This is still less than the agreed fare policy recommendation for seniors to pay 65 per cent of a regular fare, which Lachance said means there will again be an increase when the smart fare comes into effect.
At that point there will be two sliding scale options for seniors, as well as the free low-income annual pass, based on annual income. Eventually the regular monthly pass for seniors is expected to be around $65.
One cost that won’t be changing come February is the cash fare of $3.50, after council decided to freeze the current price during budget deliberations so any price increase could be measured against the new fare policy.
Residents between the ages of 18-24 who aren’t in school will see some relief in fare price, now qualifying for the discount youth option, which was previously for teens 17 and under. A monthly pass will now cost this age group $22 less while both the youth and adult monthly fares stay the same price.
This move was partly due to the elimination of post-secondary monthly passes that don’t fall under the UPASS program, which will remain unaffected, Lachance said. The hope is that the reduced price will help encourage young adults to take public transit at the beginning of their working lives.
“With people transitioning to the workforce, that’s a key time period where transportation patterns are developed and we wanted to encourage people to use transit and make that part of their regular commuting practices,” he said.
As a result of this change, children 12 and under will now be able to ride free when accompanied by any fare-paying customer, either youth, adult or senior. The family day pass piloted last year will become a permanent staple, offering unlimited daily travel for up to five people at $10.