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

Saint John Transit rates up to start 2024

By Brad Perry Jan 2, 2024 | 5:22 AM

Saint John Transit users are starting the new year with higher prices.

A single-ride cash fare is now $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 have also increased 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 are $81 for adults (compared to $77), $71.50 for students (compared to $66), and $60 for seniors (compared to $55).

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

A 30-day pass for the COMEX service has increased by $4 to $129 while a single-ride cash fare has climbed 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 in September.

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

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 projected 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.