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To fee or not to fee?

Image Credit: BC Transit
May 15, 2013 - 11:46 AM

That is the question of council

Free transit on Canada Day – over the past two years more than 11,500 rides have been given free of charge to users of the conventional transit system in Kamloops. This year some city councillors are asking whether the free service should be extended to users of custom transit (Handydart) as well.

The intention of the free transit day is to get thousands of people exposed to using the system, relieve congestion on downtown streets and open up some much needed parking in the downtown core. Most importantly is the promotional aspect of the day – letting people know how easy it can be to use transit in Kamloops.

Not enough, says Coun. Nancy Bepple, the city should be providing a provision for Handydart as well.

City transportation planner Erin Felker says it is not recommended as the system has a different goal than that of conventional transit and is typically used for medical trips.

“If you have to pay to go to dialysis but you get to go to Riverside Park for free, there's a bit of a disconnect.”

“In the spirit of fairness,” Bepple retaliates, “the inclusivity of community (is important.)”

“It's a much more complex system, it runs on appointments and is already fully subscribed. I appreciate your sentiment but quite frankly just because you take Handydart doesn't mean you don't have the means to pay for it – just like conventional transit – and I don't think generalizing people is very helpful either.” Mayor Peter Milobar explains.

He adds those people with monthly bus passes would not be getting free rides on Canada Day either as they have already paid for their passes.

Spina supports the idea of helping those who “don't get out all that often” and thinks administrative fairness dictates the custom transit service should be free if the conventional service is to be free for the day.

“They can't go in a taxi, can't go on a regular bus, make it accessible to everyone, open the door a little bit wider – they can still book in advance.”

The nail in the coffin for the proposal to have Handydart free on Canada Day is that no complaints have come from Handydart users over the past couple years upset their service was not included as part of the free transit day.

Council agreed to provide free transit service on Canada Day but voted against the motion to include Handydart as part of the free service.

To contact a reporter for this story, email or call (250)819-3723.

News from © iNFOnews, 2013

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