Edmontonians not happy with transit fare increase

It’s at the busy Southgate Transit Centre, where Edmontonians are coming and going from across the city. But speaking to those using transit, they’re upset that fares could be going up in 2025.

“They’ve wasted enough money in this city it’s time they start putting more money into actually supporting some of these things,” said one Edmonton transit user.

The city is looking to make up a little bit of money after public transit brought in millions less than what was expected in 2023. As a matter of fact, the city budgeted to collect $99 million from fares but was short of that number by around $12 million.

“Each year we monitor our revenue performance in addition to our financial performance and we know we had a revenue gap,” said Carrie Hotton-MacDonald, the manager of Edmonton Transit Service.

While transit revenue is down, transit ridership is up in the city, with more people using public transit during high inflation. One of the ways Edmonton transit and the city are looking to get that money back is by raising fares, and passengers could see a 25-cent increase for one-time fares, or $1-$2 for monthly passes.

“Yeah, I mean that’s quite a lot. But we still need to use the LRT to get to where we want to,” said a transit user.

But those who use Arc cards, Edmonton’s smart card system that can be loaded up at transit stations say it has been hard to adjust to. One passenger claimed the card doesn’t work consistently enough to be worth the hassle.

“The service is iffy. The Arc cards don’t work 90 per cent of the time you can ask anybody who uses it.”

New fare prices were presented at city council on Thursday after a report showed an overview of fares, ridership numbers, and the status of the city’s low-income pass program. But according to ETS, fare prices haven’t gone up in four years and these price adjustments were approved by city council in 2022.

“We’re gonna bring back a report to council discussing all options in terms of how to adjust the gap. And that will be presented to council at the end of August,” said Hotton-MacDonald.

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