Calgary Transit to eliminate convenience fee for low-income passes

A four-car CTrain is shown in this photo from the Calgary Transit Twitter account. Twitter / @CalgaryTransit

A convenience fee for Calgarians buying low-income transit passes online has been eliminated by the city after a number of complaints.

Calgary Transit made technology upgrades to its e-store at the start of the year. To recover costs, a $2.50 convenience fee was brought in for all transactions in the online store.

However, many low-income bus pass users and advocates complained to members of city council and went on social media to criticize the fee.

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Mayor Naheed Nenshi echoed their concern.

“It didn’t make any sense to buy a $5.00 pass and have a $2.50 fee tacked onto it,” Nenshi said. “If you buy something online and you have to pay a 50 per cent handling fee — especially if you’re a low-income person — that’s not fair.”

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“What we heard from customers is that that impacted them very heavily. So we looked at the impact of waiving that fee for low-income transit pass customers and decided that was the best course of action,” Doug Morgan, the acting general manager of transportation for the City of Calgary, said Monday.

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Morgan said the fee was brought in to recover the costs of upgrading the e-store and the cost of waiving the fee for low-income transit pass users is under $10,000.

He says eliminating the fee is the right thing to do.

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“People are on tough times and if they spent $5 or $50 on a transit pass, the fee was a tipping point for them and we heard from them.

“We want to make sure they do have access to looking for work and activities and, much like the justification for the low-income pas, we respect that and the fees align with their level to pay”

The sliding scale low-income transit pass ranges from $5.45 to $54.50 a month.

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Morgan said anyone who has paid the fee this month will get a credit on their account.

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