On April 4, 2021, Free Transit Edmonton launched a petition demanding a freeze on public transit fares. More than 1,800 Edmontonians signed on and the final roster of signatures was delivered to City Council ahead of the Spring 2021 Supplement Operating Budget Adjustment.
Now, this December, we're fighting again as the city plans to raise cash fares to $4. If council approves this increase, Edmontonians will be stuck paying world class prices for a subpar system.
While a decrease in fares is welcome, the decision to do this on the backs of folks using cash fare is atrocious.
Edmontonians are already facing the looming 5th wave of the COVID-19 pandemic, a climate emergency, and dangerously cold temperatures.
Transit development needs to be centred around mobility and accessibility, not generating marginal revenue for the City of Edmonton.
Today, City Council is also set to hear from the Edmonton Police Service (EPS), regarding their funding & spending over the past several years. Likely in an attempt to justify an increase in EPS funding.
Overall transit operations have seen next to no budget increase in almost a decade1. The city should actively be reallocating police funding to fund people-first resources — like public transit.
Throughout the 2021 election, 8 of the elected Councillors and the Mayor stated that they would vote against fare increases. With six of those councillors stating they would like to decrease transit fares.
The fare increase decision comes as the first test of their campaign promises.And a test to determine whether City Council takes the livelihood of Edmonton’s most vulnerable — and climate action — seriously.
FOR A JUST, ACCESSIBLE, AND CLIMATE RESILIENT CITY TO BE REALIZED — CASH FARES MUST NOT INCREASE.