Transit ridership up, what about cost?

Taxpayer should know how business is being run.

To the Editor,

Re: Ridership numbers up on transit, July 23.

I was pleased to see a 6.4-per cent increase in transit ridership, since I’ve often been distressed by the number of buses that carry only a handful of passengers.

In private industry, building the customer base usually means lower unit costs and greater efficiencies of scale and I’m wondering if we’re seeing this same principle within public transit.

According to your published figures, the ‘unit cost’ per trip is currently $4.72 of which the rider pays $1.37.  Nanaimo property owners subsidize each ride by $1.56 and along with provincial taxpayers, contributie a further $1.80 per fare.

My question then, is as the system ‘expands and improves’, are those improvements being paid by greater efficiencies as a benefit of expanded ridership?

Or, as the number of passenger trips increases, are we being asked for exponentially greater subsidies and taxes in our property and provincial tax rates?

As the major shareholder in this public enterprise, I think taxpayers should know how well or poorly their business is being run.

Randy O’Donnell

Nanaimo