Transit transfer limits go too far

Re: Transit scores new revenue after tackling transfer abuse, News, Sept. 28, 2011.

Re: Transit scores new revenue after tackling transfer abuse, News, Sept. 28, 2011.

It always amazes me how bureaucrats use their assumptions to prove their assumptions.

A example is the recent statements made by BC Transit,  that their recent increase in revenues of nearly $500,000 is a result of changes in the bus transfer system which reduced fraud.

However, let’s look at other possible causes for those increased revenues:

Old system: completely legitimate for riders to use their transfers to travel in two directions during the allotted 90 minute transfer time. New system: No longer allowed.

Old system: Travel up to 90 minutes on a transfer, allowing people to go, for example, from the West Shore to Sidney on one fare. New System: 60 minute maximum transfer travel.

Further, gas prices in the Victoria area have gone up nearly 20 per cent since the beginning of the year.

Is it possible that riders who used to travel two ways on one bus transfer now have to pay twice for that same travel?

Could it be that reduced transfer times are causing some trips to require two fares? Could the chances have caused some riders to buy monthly bus passes? Could the substantial increase in gasoline in the last nine months have, as in the past, caused increases in the number of bus passengers?

Could the number of University of Victoria students (who are all required to pay for a bus pass in their fees) have gone up this fall?

I am not suggesting that fraud didn’t have some influence on the lower revenue numbers, or that a better controlled system wasn’t needed, but BC Transit had already “assumed” a loss due to transfer fraud of $250,000 a year. Now they are claiming that if trends continue, the real loss was closer to $1 million per year.

If indeed this is such an unexpected windfall, perhaps transit can afford to roll back some of the restrictions, so that legitimate riders aren’t saddled with extra expenses due to the changes in the transfer system.

Arthur Entlich

Metchosin