City increases bus fare for Route 747 to the Edmonton airport to $10
But the increase means the level of service will stay the same
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Travellers will now pay $10 to ride the Route 747 bus to the airport, but the extra revenue will mean no cuts to the level of service, city councillors decided Monday.
After a five-year funding agreement with the Edmonton Regional Airports Authority expired in the spring, the city was faced with either coming up with funding, cutting service, or increasing the fare.
The Community and Public Service Committee chose the third option in order to keep the bus, which runs between Century Park Station and Edmonton International Airport, operating regularly.
They also allocated $125,000 to maintain the existing service until April 30.
The bus previously cost $5, or two bus tickets.
Sean Lee, with the Edmonton Transit Advisory Board, argued a consistent bus to the airport was needed to keep Edmonton “competitive and relevant on the national continental and global stage."
He said that although the buses weren’t 100 per cent full, they still carried around 450 people a day between the airport and the city.
There is no peak period for airport travel either, he added, as flights depart at all times of day.
The city's five-year agreement with the Airports Authority expired back in April and wasn't renewed. The Authority had paid of total of $500,000 to keep the shuttle running.
But riders waiting at the airport stop at Century Park weren't happy about the idea of paying more to catch a flight.
Matthew Meyer, a tourist from Germany on his way to catch his Monday evening flight home, said it will be too much money on top of what he already pays.
“I paid the bus in the city $3.75, then I bought the ticket for train (LRT)... and now I have to buy the ticket for the 747 bus,” he said.
“For sure it’s too expensive, it should be cheaper, not more.”
He also said there should be a more direct line to the airport from Edmonton core.
“You shouldn’t have to change two or three times for somebody who comes, who has no car,” he said.
But Lee said the increase was worth it to maintain the convenience of having the bus depart regularly.
“It’s not just a nice-to-have novelty, there are people who actually rely on this service,” Lee said.
“There are people who arrive here from foreign destinations simply expecting the ease of convenience and the option of taking public transit into the city.”
Althuogh fares were increased for cash and tickets for the bus, the $100 monthly pass will stay the same.
The new fare brings Edmonton in line with municipalities like Calgary, Vancouver and Montreal, which all charge $10 to get to the airport.