City should give cash to bus pass

Tuesday, April 7th, 2009

Re: “What a difference an unused bus pass could make”
Feb. 1, 2007

To the Editor:
I think Erin Chapman’s logic about bus passes may not be totally correct. This year, every undergraduate student at Western paid $118.80 for a bus pass granting them unlimited ridership for eight months.

Now, if this bus plan didn’t exist, any students who use the bus would have to buy monthly bus passes sold by the London Transit Commission for $74 per month. So it would cost a student $592 to ride the bus unlimited for eight months if the plan didn’t exist. If one in five undergraduates uses their bus pass, the LTC “breaks even” on the deal. I don’t think Western holds onto the money paid by students who don’t use their pass; it likely flows to the LTC to pay for the cost of the ridership.

In spirit, however, Chapman’s goal is worthy. People need to get around the city, and the cost of bus travel is rather expensive, so it can be difficult for those who have little money. Perhaps the more desirable goal is getting governments at every level " municipal, provincial, and federal " to provide enough funding to the city transit system so user fees can be eliminated.

At the very least, the City of London could make some bus-transit funding available for those who can’t afford it. The city is deliberating its budget right now and, until the idea was recently rejected, the city was prepared to spend $2 million on a downtown parking facility that would only benefit those who could afford to drive their cars to work every day. Even now, $500,000 is budgeted for a downtown parking project! Perhaps we should convince the city to consider making this money available to low-income bus users.
"Jason Brown
M.Sc. Biology

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