The numbers behind transit service level increases

Staff ~ The Prince Albert Daily Herald
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In preparation for what is anticipated to become a heated debate at Monday’s council meeting, city transportation manager Keri Sexmith prepared a cost breakdown for council consideration.

Patricia Laplante is seen at a downtown bus stop she uses on her rides home last winter, during which she first raised the issue of improving public transit in Prince Albert. 

On the table is a list of recommendations to increase the city’s public transportation subsidization -- a service Mayor Greg Dionne has stated is already “over-subsidized.”

Click HERE for more on the upcoming city council discussion.

The following is a cost breakdown of the various proposals Sexmith put forward in a report to council, which the city’s elected officials will consider at Monday’s city council meeting, set to begin at 5 p.m. at council chambers.

Since implementation would not take place until September, the cost for service level increases would be less this year than in subsequent years.

• Extending service hours on weekdays to 6 a.m. to 11 p.m. would cost $170,000 annually.

• Extending hours on Saturday only, to 7 a.m. to 10 p.m., would cost an annual $90,000.

• It’s been recommended that additional buses be purchased as part of the 10-year capital budget. With the purchase of five buses recommended, a new bus should be purchased every two years at a cost of about $450,000 each.

• Seat covers should be purchased at a cost of $8,000, making the surface of the seats easier to wipe off.

In 2012, the total operating expense was $1,264,846, of which the city’s net municipal operating contribution was $664,805 -- the balance covered by user fees.

City buses drove a total of 360,000 kilometres and provided 324,457 regular passenger trips.

In 2013, 335,485 trips were taken -- a slight increase over 2012, but a 30 per cent increase since five years previous.

Bus users Patrick Fairbairn and Patricia Laplante, who have both played roles in petitioning the city to improve its public transportation system, plan on attending Monday’s council meeting, during which their correspondence will be considered. 

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