Brock University Student Union is running another transit referendum to increase the bus pass fee from $212 -> $247. In order to ensure we have a safe and reliable means of transportation not only for St. Catharines but the entire Niagara region it is up to us, the students front $3.5million dollars for our routes. Although we receive a generous contribution from the university of $150,000 the rest of the capital is covered through our U-pass. Since we have to contract with private unionized companies who constantly increase the fees they charge BUSU to adjust for rising living costs it quickly became evident that all of our reserves were depleted, and we were running a massive deficit! This deficit resulted in some difficult decisions over the summer months which meant we were forced to cut 6 routes and end our spring/summer subsidy program. In turn this saved approximately $750,000 in our transit budget and thereby got us out of our deficit but put an end to some crucial routes.
With Brock’s population expanding on a yearly basis it stands to reason that BUSU needs to expand its transit system so we can meet the growing population with the transit they need to get to school. Yet, because of Brock’s geography we lack the ability to split the costs of our routes with the various cities in the region meaning each route can cost anywhere from $72,000- $250,000 for each individual route. If this referendum fails students will continue to experience a decline in the quality of transit and within a few years the complete eradication of our transit system entirely. If BUSU doesn’t provide transit for you that means students will have to buy a transit pass with the city of St. Catharines, costing about $91 +tax a month, and each student would then be paying over $800 for eight months of usage.
Voting YES will have seriously positive implications for the Brock community. We will be able to increase the frequency of the busses we have on our routes, extend their hours of operation, allow for the future growth of routes based where students are living, return our spring/summer transit subsidy program, while ensuring we have the needed capital for GO-transit. The best part is we can start making these improvements to our transit system as soon as January 1st, 2018 while the fee increase would not be implemented until September 1st, 2018.
Vote YES, via your Brock email from October 24th, 25th 26th.