NL Gazette

Increasing diesel prices mean either bus fares go up or services go down

Nfld and Labrador

Key takeaways: 

  • The city calls on the N.L. government to use for federal relief.
  • The City of St. John’s says high diesel costs eat into Metrobus’s operating funding.

With the price of diesel cutting into Metrobus’s bottom line, the City of St. John’s is asking the regional government to apply for federal relief. 

In a news release Thursday, the city said the diesel price is “having a major effect on the funding at Metrobus,” and it anticipates a shortfall this year of approximately $1.4 million.

“The existing fuel cost is quite $1 a liter beyond our 2022 funding price,” the release reads.

The release said the city is not contemplating a fare rise or significant service cuts but will be moved without help, pointing to $750 million in emergency national support revealed in February for transit issues induced by the COVID-19 pandemic.

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he existing fuel cost is quite $1 a liter beyond our 2022 funding price,

“The budget from this program is desperately required now more than ever due to record-high fuel costs,” reads the release. “The choice is to raise fares or lower service to keep the transit system bearable during these difficult times.”

The city said that the budget is being given to regions and territories based on the exact formula utilized for the public transit stream of the Investing in Canada Infrastructure Program. According to the city’s release, ridership has yielded to pre-pandemic levels, and with the recent wing of the income-assistance bus pass program, the town expects ridership will increase.

The relief analysis is based on 70 percent transit ridership and 30 percent population, conditional on matching from the regional government. 

According to the release, Newfoundland and Labrador would earn just over $4.1 million. The city wants the regional government to ensure it will apply for the budget before considering other possibilities to handle the Metrobus funding shortfall.

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