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One of the buses in the Saint John Transit fleet. Image: staff photo

Details about Saint John Transit fare increases

By Brad Perry Sep 6, 2023 | 4:50 PM

Taking the bus in Saint John is going to cost more starting in January.

Saint John Transit unveiled its updated transit fares on Wednesday.

A single-ride cash fare will climb to $3, an increase of 25 cents for adults and 50 cents for seniors and students.

This marks the first cash fare increase for Saint John Transit in 11 years. Other fare categories will also increase for the first time in seven years.

Buying a monthly pass will set you back an extra $4 to $5.50, with seniors and students seeing the largest increase.

The new prices will be $81 for adults (compared to $77), $71.50 for students (compared to $66), and $60 for seniors (compared to $55).

Ten-ride passes will increase by $1.50 across the board. They will now cost $26.50 for adults and $23.50 for students and seniors.

A 30-day pass for the COMEX service will increase by $4 to $129 while a single-ride cash fare will climb 25 cents to $4.25.

“Fare increases will allow the commission to address rising costs (for example, vehicles, fuel, maintenance, insurance) as the agency continues to expand service and introduce new technology and system enhancements,” Saint John Transit said in a news release on Wednesday.

The transit agency also plans to roll out an account-based mobile ticketing app called STJRides later this fall, which will see riders save five per cent per fare purchase.

Transit director Ian MacKinnon first hinted at the increase during a presentation to the city’s finance committee in August.

“We had a fare policy approved at the last transit commission [in July],” said MacKinnon, who said the details would be released in early September.

Saint John Transit has been working to improve its finances, which took a hit when the pandemic started.

The transit agency was forced to reduce service on all of its routes in 2020 due to low ridership.

The amount of revenue brought in compared to total operating costs dropped from 45 per cent to 35 per cent. Net costs per service hour have also jumped from $61.53 to $84.76, according to a staff report.

MacKinnon said while ridership and revenue have been improving, they are not back at pre-pandemic levels.

In fact, Saint John Transit is projecting a deficit of $772,000 in 2023 due to lower-than-expected revenue and higher-than-expected fuel costs.

Its draft budget for 2024 is $10.6 million, an increase of $671,000. Its annual transit operating subsidy is expected to increase by $831,000 to $6.4 million.


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