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Bus fare, schedule changes met with resistance

As students are moving back to Freddy Beach for another school year, they may want to keep an extra quarter or two in their pockets.

Bus fares for Fredericton Transit increased by 25 cents, a raise from $2.25 to $2.50, on Tuesday, Sept. 2.

The fare increase was adopted by the Fredericton city council to accommodate changes in the bus schedule.

“We have made some changes in our schedule and to keep par with our costs we increased fares by 25 cents,” said Tony Hay, transit manager for the city of Fredericton.

“We have added frequencies so now there’s hourly service all day long along with half hour service in the morning and peak time. We’ve also increased our level of service on Saturday.”

The transit rates will see a second increase on Jan. 2, 2015 with single fares rising another 25 cents, totalling $2.75.

The January increase will also affect student monthly fares, which will be upped $10 from $45 to $55. The general adult monthly pass will see a similar increase from $70 to $80.

According to Hay, the increase is only an acceleration of the city council’s five-year rate strategy for transit fares and that the rates were scheduled to go up in any event.

Hay also said that the increases shouldn’t be viewed as a nuisance because of the convenience the changes will afford.

“A quarter more for a fare is well worth it in my opinion because of the level of service that council is providing for the citizens of Fredericton for transit,” he said.

“The citizens of Fredericton and students will be able to depend on transit as a means and mode of transportation on a consistent and dependable basis. “

However, changes to the transit schedule have led to criticism from some community members. Students in particular are affected by the removal of the nighttime departure times from Regent Mall and UNB.

Nicholas Kean, a third-year student at UNB, started a petition to revert to the old transit schedules for this very reason.

Kean, like many students, works at the Regent Mall. He pointed out that if students work later than 9:40 p.m., the changes to the 10N Carlisle and 13S Prospect will leave those who rely on the bus without a way home.

The schedule changes to these routes instated on Sept. 2 will not have departure times past 9:40.

“Stores can have their workers close at anywhere from 9 to 10 p.m. Mostly for myself and for others that I know, getting to and from work while studying, if we have to work late past 9:30 we’re basically out of luck,” Kean said.

Kean said the schedule changes will also cause complications for students during exam time.

The 16S Marysville route that departs from UNB’s Student Union Building no longer has departure times past 9:55, an issue for students with exams in the 7 to 10 p.m. block.

“You are basically paying more for less. It doesn’t really make sense in my mind,” Kean said.

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