The following from Citizens at City Hall (CATCH)
Transit fare hikes reducedThere will be no increase in the seniors annual bus pass or for DARTS riders, and the regular adult ticket will only rise by 5 cents as a result of a last minute budget decision this morning. The senior’s pass was set to rise by $40 a year, and ticket prices to climb by 10 cents a ride.The motion moved by Brian McHattie and seconded by Sam Merulla noted that plans to subsidize low income riders “will not realistically be in place until late 2007 / early 2008”.Cash fares will still rise by 15 cents a ride, and that combined with the 5 cent ticket increase is expected to add $650,000 to the HSR budget as opposed to the $1.1 million expected from the full increases. The shortfall is being made up with $290,000 from taxes and $160,000 from the provincial gas tax monies.The tax effect will only be felt in the former city of Hamilton whose residents pay 90% of transit taxes under an area rating system that is a hangover from the pre-amalgamation period, and see’s Ancaster residents paying less than one-fifth the transit tax rate as those who live in former Hamilton.Nevertheless, four suburban councillors voted against the motion – Lloyd Ferguson, Margaret McCarthy, Brad Clark and Maria Pearson.Voting in favour of the fare reduction were Mayor Eisenberger, Bob Bratina, Chad Collins, Scott Duvall, Tom Jackson, Bernie Morelli, Rob Pasuta, Russ Powers, McHattie and Merulla.Two councillors – Terry Whitehead and Dave Mitchell – missed the 11-minute meeting that gave final approval to the budget and consequently didn’t get to vote on the fare hike issue.
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