Bills to increase by hundreds of dollars in 2013: taxpayers federation
Published Tuesday, January 1, 2013 4:23PM PST
Last Updated Tuesday, January 1, 2013 6:24PM PST
Transit users in the Lower Mainland are struggling with a new expensive reality on New Year’s Day as fare increases of about 10 per cent came into effect.
Adult one-zone and two-zone fares rose 25 cents to $2.75 and $4 respectively, and three-zone fares increased by 50 cents to $5.50. Monthly pass prices also rose as well. TransLink says the new prices amount to an increase of about two per cent a year for every year since the last time the fares went up in 2008. The fare hikes are to make up for TransLink’s $50-million deficit.
However, the Canadian Taxpayers Federation says fare increases are not the only increases that B.C. taxpayers will be facing this year. BC Hydro rates will go up nearly four per cent in April, TransLink property taxes and municipal taxes will both go up 1.5 per cent each, and health premiums will go up about $60 per family.
Tolls will also go up, as half-price tolls end on March 1 for the new Port Mann Bridge. Tolls on the Golden Ears Bridge will also rise 1.4 per cent in July.
Jordan Bateman with the Canadian Taxpayers Federation says the total impact could be hundreds of dollars.
“I don’t know too many people who are going to be ahead this year,” he said. “It’s another bad year that you’re sliding backwards.”
Stephanie Boyer got a pleasant surprise when she got on the bus on Tuesday and was charged the old rate of $2.50 instead of $2.75. However, it is only a matter of time before the fare boxes are all calibrated.
Chrissy McKenzie rides from Langley to a restaurant job in Cloverdale, and she is not pleased with the fare increases.
“It’s ridiculous,” she said. “They need to up their services before they up their rates.”
The bus pass tax credit, however, can soften the blow.
“Last year I applied for the tax credits on my bus passes, and I got $160 back,” said Stephen Gordon, a former long haul trucker.
With files from CTV British Columbia’s Jon Woodward