No reason found for drop in transit ridership

OC Transpo management is unsure why fewer people took the bus at the start of this year.

A report received by transit commission Wednesday shows ridership revenue was more than $3.9-million under forecasts from January to March.

OC Transpo General Manager John Manconi said a declining number of people played a role, but he's optimistic.

"Everywhere across North America, everybody is experiencing ridership changes, but we don't need to panic over that - it's a very small percentage of the overall change," Manconi said.

"Are people biking more - are they walking more?"

Other factors included the elimination of the Express transit pass.

OC Transpo still managed to post a $1.25-million surplus during the first quarter because of lower fuel and maintenance costs.

Wednesday's Transit Commission session also approved the establishment of an "Equipay" fare for low-income earners.

It is expected to follow the same income guidelines as the "Equipass"  introduced by the city in March.

OC Transpo is also putting together plans to make Presto Pass recharging machines more widely available.

They are to be located, initially, in all light rail stations.

"We also have some innovative expansions of where those vending machines are going to be located," Manconi said.

OC Transpo will be shifting to using the plastic Presto Pass card almost exclusively by year's end.

As of June, the Adult monthly bus pass is no longer available on paper.

Senior and Community paper passes will end in August, and paper tickets will disappear as of November.