Will new Translink fares be fair? Only if transit riders organize to have their say

p1000282_2-bus-2Translink’s decision to do a complete review of its fare structure, driven by new data generated by Compass card use, is both an opportunity and a risk for transit riders.

The review may offer an opportunity to reduce the cost to users. The risk is that costs will rise, especially in the complex mix of “distance-based fares” that some Translink staff hope to achieve.

Is Translink hoping to make the fare system more socially equitable? That would imply one set of changes. Or is the goal to maximize revenue? That would mean something else.

That depends on organized pressure from riders, who have not been heard from much up to now.

Transit planning expert Jarrett Walker has eloquently spelled out the trade-offs here. What fare is fair? The question is not as simple as it looks.

The good news is that Translink’s fare structure must be approved by a Mayor’s Council review, an oversight role the Mayors have in law and have indicated they will use.

Can riders made a difference? They sure can.

HandyDart riders showed how yesterday when they won a commitment from the Translink board to consider moving the troubled accessible transit service back in-house.