Sep 13, 2019

Fine for not paying transit ticket 2.5X more than parking ticket

In Edmonton the fine for not paying a transit ticket is 2.5X more than a parking ticket. I am not fine with it. 

Transit fines have obviously jumped the track and residents in Edmonton, including those in Ward 4, and myself, are starting to ask – why is the fine for not paying for a transit ticket more than double the fine for a parking ticket? Something needs to change.

In Edmonton, a parking ticket costs about $100. A ticket for getting stopped without a ticket, transfer, or your pass? $250.

So I asked the same question you are probably thinking to yourself: maybe this big fine deters people from using transit without buying a ticket? Well — the recently released City Auditor transit report found that charging a big fine as a way to reduce fare evasion behaviour is not working. It is just not an effective tool for changing behaviour, especially for the most vulnerable who don’t have money and have no other way to get around the city.

Why then are we penalizing Edmontonians like fixed income seniors, students, and low income families for using transit? These are Edmontonians who might not own a car, and rely on ETS to get them to work, doctor’s appointments, drop off kids at school, or pick up groceries for family dinner. 

This has an impact on the economy when people choose to stay home rather than get out and about. No local people; no local sales.

Last year I called for a total transit overhaul because right now, we are paying for a world-class system but we are not getting a world-class system. The results are coming in November. The fines issued to Edmontonians who might have forgot a bus pass or simply didn’t have the cash on hand exceed the means of most transit users.

People who might consider transit as an alternative are being turned away by the prospect of an expensive fine or making a simple error. Encouraging people to use transit also means clearing roads for those of us that need to drive.

Just another reason to change the course on transit. 

Today, I asked the City Administration which bucket the revenue for these fines is going into. Is it going towards a better transit system? I am not seeing evidence of that. I will keep you in the loop once I receive the answer.