Monday, March 26, 2012

Presentation from the UVic Student Society and the Camosun COllege Student Society to Victoria Transit Commission

The two student societies made some recommendations to the Victoria Transit Commission last week. One of the unintended consequences of the UPass system is that BC Transit has 100% of the possible revenue from the students and has no financial incentive to improve service for the students.

Here are their recommendations:
 Recommendation 1: 7000 service hours minimum ● Students are happy to see the return of previously cut service hours.
● But this budget only brings service up to 2010/11 service levels.
● Service levels need more improvement: ○ Maintain existing ridership ○ Attract new ridership
Recommendation 2: maintain business ratio. ● Unfair to be increasing passenger revenue (change in transfer policy, increase to monthly bus pass and U-Pass fees) while decreasing taxes on businesses.
● By reducing the business assessment ratio, the fiscal capacity of the commission would be permanently reduced. We think this is not in the long-term interests of transit.
Recommendation 3: increase fiscal capacity ● For the funding of 'new' service hours, we recommend the 1.3% property tax increase.
● This is well below the 4% increase endorsed by the previous commission in Nov 2011.
● It is critical for the commission to lobby the provincial government to increase the regional gas tax to increase fiscal capacity.
● Vancouver ($0.17/litre) Victoria ($0.035/litre) More funding = better transit = less congestion
As it is, the property tax ratio between residential and businesses is too high, the goal of reducing it is important for everyone.  The ratio has been 5 to 1 for business transit property taxes.  To often the burden of costs for transit are placed on those that do not use it.   The scale of subsidy is something that should be of concern to everyone.  The closer transit operates on a break even basis, the better the long term sustainability of the transit system.

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