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The elimination of the ECOPASS program…

… might turn me back to my car as my way to get to work…

Flawed logic alert here folks:

Termination of the ECOPASS program

The introduction of PRESTO will allow former ECOPASS holders to customize their travel experience while providing the convenience and flexibility to purchase as many months of transit service as they need.   As a result, it is recommended that the ECOPASS Program be eliminated during the fall of 2012.

Further, OC Transpo is no longer able to sustain annual fares that are deeply discounted below operating costs.

In 2011-12, an ECOPASS subscription costs $990 per year, and with the 2.5 percent increase applied, it would cost $1,014 in 2012-13. By choosing to purchase 10 monthly passes and 10 days of pay-per-ride e-Purse fares, a typical current ECOPASS subscriber would pay $1,015 per year in 2012-13.

The cost of an ECOPASS will increase to the cost of an Adult Regular or Express monthly pass as of July 1, depending on what the customer has chosen.  ECOPASS subscribers will have the option to withdraw from the ECOPASS program by notifying their employer and taking advantage of paying less for their reduced transit needs during the summer. Although ECOPASS holders can continue with payroll deductions until the fall, they also will have the option to transition to PRESTO when they choose.  Each employer will be provided with proper termination notices in accordance with the terms of each employer’s respective ECOPASS contract.

ECOPASS holders, once they convert to PRESTO, will be able to take advantage of the new transferable bus pass.  This provides the benefit of allowing customers to transfer their bus pass within the same class. 

 Staff will provide notification of the fare change to employers of ECOPASS subscribers and will  work with them to issue new PRESTO smart cards through the fall of 2012 to provide a seamless transition.

Why flawed logic?

The bolded text is assuming that current ECOPASS holders take 6 weeks of holidays in the summer! I don’t know ANYONE who takes off this much time within a 2 month block… or even spread through the year! Most take 2 weeks off – max 3.

For me, the fare will increase from $990 / year to $1,155… assuming I get the Presto card for 12 months… which I would do due to the convenience factor… not going to waste my time starting and stopping automatic debits.

I want to stay on the transit wagon… for environmental reasons alone and 150ish bucks may not seem like much, but combine that with the service that alternates between abysmal and barely acceptable… and, well, I think some may rethink their options.

I know that I’ll be one of them.


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  1. Chris says:

    You’d think that the up-front guarantee of x number of subscribed riders would be a positive thing for OC Transpo and worth the few bucks they discount the pass?? In Toronto they have a subscriber pass where you sign up for the year and deductions are made automatically from your bank and you get a discount off the regular monthly pass. And ya, OC always made strange assumptions about people’s vacations. July and August service gets cut and for 2 weeks in December because “everyone’s on vacation”. I think school kids must be their prime target market.

    1. John McManus says:

      The big thing about the eco pass is the convenience: no running out to buy tickets or passes at the last minute, no stopping at bus depots to “recharge” the card, no ticket or pass printing and distribution costs for OC Transpo, and no trying to save receipts over the course of the year for tax purposes – the “receipt” is on the T4. It is so convenient that I (and most people I know) don’t bother trying to discontinue the pass during vacation breaks – it isn’t worth the hassle. So OC Transpo picks up extra $ for trips I don’t take. Everyone wins. It is the smartest thing going for OC Transpo, so why would they want to stop it? Riders have to put pressure on the municiple government to keep the Ecopass program alive.

      1. trashee says:

        I completely agree, John. This might push me back to the car.

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