A more equitable sharing of costs and revenues has been signed off on between the City of Vernon and Regional District of North Okanagan.
Amanda Watson, transportation manager for the City of Vernon, said the revised shared aspects of the transit service underwent a joint internal analysis to develop a “more holistic” approach.
The changes were based on recommendations made in the Transit Fare Review, which examined the Vernon Regional Transit System’s current fare structure, discusses historic revenue and ridership trends.
“It’s a positive step forward, long overdue. We’ve gotten into the nitty gritty of the mechanics of how the system operates and discovered a few things, that some aspects were in the wrong slots and we’ve redirected some things to create greater fairness among the transit service jurisdictions,” Watson said.
That re-assessment was reflected in a resolution adopted by Vernon council on Monday for the city to allot $176,352 in transit revenue to RDNO, while the regional district in turn will deposit $92,363 from its share of outstanding revenue to the city earmarked for transit reserves.
Watson said the service funding and revenue changes won’t be noticeable to transit users.
What they will notice, she said, is an increase in transit fares previously adopted to take effect April 1. There will be a one cash fare of $2.50 for all transit services. For adult service users, this means an increase of 50 cents, based on the current one zone fare. For students and seniors this will be a total increase of 75 cents. HandyDart users will see fares increase form $1.75 to $2.50 in April.
Under the new fare structure, Watson noted existing single zone and multi zone fares will be unified as one, an “across the board” one-time fee, with the lone exception being the $5 fee for route #90 between Kelowna and Vernon.
“Our transit system is maturing, growing up a bit. The review process has enabled us to work out how to operate and allocate fare revenues among the jurisdictions fairly,” she added.