The federal government has announced big bucks for Metro Vancouver transit infrastructure in Budget 2017, but they’re also making it more expensive to ride.
Among the tax measures announced Wednesday: the elimination of the transit tax credit, a provision that credited Canadians for 15 per cent of the cost of monthly (and in some cases, pay as you go) passes.
So how much will that change cost Metro Vancouver commuters?
Based on current TransLink fares, monthly pass holders stand to lose out on significant annual tax credits – in some cases, more than $600 per year.
Annual cost to Compass monthly pass holders
- One Zone: $163.80
- Two Zones: $223.20
- Three Zones: $306.00
Annual cost to West Coast Express monthly pass holders
Based on trips to and from Waterfront Station:
- Three Zones (Port Moody-Coquitlam): 361.80
- Four Zones (Pitt Meadows/Maple Ridge/Port Haney): 439.20
- Five Zones (Mission City): $604.35
Maple Ridge mayor Nicole Read says she’s disappointed with the move, which she says will hit her community and its neighbours disproportionately.
“The reality right now in Metro Vancouver, where we have an affordability crisis, is that more and more people are moving further out. And so we need to be reducing the cost of transit in this area of the region, not increasing it.”
Read says she’s reached out to the community’s Liberal MP to ask how much thought and consultation went into the move.
She adds she has concerns that combined with recent and frequent West Coast Express delays, a fare bump of between $440 and $600 could be enough for riders to simply abandon the service.
“The delays combined with this increase in cost, is it starting to convince more riders to get back into their cars? I think it probably is.”
Read says plans to eventually connect Maple Ridge to the Evergreen Line by B-Line bus will help, but still leave commuters on the hook without the tax break.