For further explanation, please see the previous post, entitled ‘Vancouver, My Beloved,’ and ranting about all that’s wrong in the world of my city and how we should fix it. Or don’t. It’s really up to you.
The first step in Ivy’s Vancouver-Wide Master Plan of Positive Investment and Social Change?
As in, get rid of transit fares, and impose a tax across the lower mainland charging every adult the equivalent of $200 per annum for transit use. This will actually give our transit system more money than their current passenger-fare revenue and eliminate a great deal of administration costs, which is capital that can be used to invest in our infrastructure, which is in desperate need of expansion.
This change will give money back to current riders, who are now spending $81 a month for use of a single fare zone...or $970 per year. That, according to conservatives, will boost the economy. But the main benefit is that those individuals who are currently reluctant to spend on fares are far more likely to leave their car at home and hop on a bus, or a skytrain, and the benefits of this are huge.
Pollution, policing, and the cost of maintaining roads and bridges (which is a very huge amount)...all of these go down as transit ridership goes up. Driving a car within a city is a luxury, and always has been, and some individuals will continue to drive...but there’s no reason why anyone should have to. And without fares - or, more accurately, with a system which requires every citizen to pay - less people will drive, the transit system will improve, and we all reap the benefits.
As for a tax on those who may not use the transit system...well, tough. The system is there, free and accessible for your use, just like education, libraries, parks, and policing...none of which have a charge-per-use payment. Everyone in the lower mainland absorbs the cost of single-car use - we do this in the form of pollution, asthma, and health care, and in cost of maintaining our roads and bridges. All of problem areas stand to benefit from getting people out of their cars. In fact, the fiscal benefits of increasing transit use are overwhelming.
Added bonus? Tourism, which tends to boost in cities with an easily accessible infrastructure and no cost-per-use fares. Plus, Vancouver can actually put some weight behind that ‘greenest city’ crap they’ve been throwing around for years.
And...yes, full disclosure, I am a transit user. And I’m poor, and fares are really expensive and just increased, and I recently tried to initiate an employee program to lower transit costs through my work, but that fell through. So I stand to benefit quite a lot from this proposal. But that’s not the point. Or, actually, it is. Because I am a person, and so are you, and universal lower fees allow us all to benefit. Win, win, win?