A hike in bus fare and new fare products will be part of the discussion with a fare structure review anticipated for early 2017

A hike in bus fare and new fare products will be part of the discussion with a fare structure review anticipated for early 2017

Price hike possible as Regional District of Nanaimo reviews fares

NANAIMO – Potential bus fare hikes are among items Regional District of Nanaimo will examine with a review anticipated in early 2017.

Potential bus fare hikes are among items the Regional District of Nanaimo will examine with a fare structure review anticipated in early 2017.

Daniel Pearce, acting director of transportation and emergency services, said the regional district is looking at restructuring its total fares and working with B.C. Transit, which shares costs with the RDN, to look for ways to make it easier for riders.

The regional district will hold public meetings and look at all aspects, including fare products offered and overall fare pricing strategy. Pearce said the regional district doesn’t currently have any price increase proposals, but it would do so to meet the needs of the service and community and if they’re in line with other communities.

“We’ll propose a few different options and then take those to public consultation and see what the public sees and how some different options work, including for example transfers or not including transfers, or including a cash day fare, per ride, or just a day pass … whether they’re sold on the bus or off the bus,” Pearce said.

While there isn’t anything budgeted this year, electronic fare products, similar to the Compass Card in the Lower Mainland, is something the regional district has on its wish list, but it’s still be a few years away, said Pearce.

He anticipates the review will take place for a majority of 2017.

“We’ll be conducting the review starting, really through 2017 … starting in the winter and going into the spring. We’ll be getting direction from our board probably in the early summer and ready for implementation for September 2017, if there’s any changes,” said Pearce.

Nanaimo bus fares are $2.50 for adults and university students, $2.25 for seniors and $2.25 for students in elementary or secondary school.