Originally Posted by GlassCity
The last thing I think we need to do is split fares between local/express buses. Not only do my same criticisms of the bus/SkyTrain split apply, but this becomes even more confusing.
I agree that the current zone system is flawed, but if you take their proposal of adding more zones and then making your first zone crossing free, it could fix it while staying simple.
I'd rather it be all one zone, but you can't tell me there isn't something inherently unfair in letting someone use one fare to go from North Van to White Rock vs someone going from Joyce to Metrotown where the latter is charged more.
I wasn't thinking about the UBC B-line in this case, but rather the buses that cross a geographic/municipal barrier (eg Richmond/Vancouver, Surrey/New West) that are also served already by the Skytrain to dissuade the kind of problem that was also created by having a Toll Bridge and a non-toll bridge to cross from Surrey/New West.
Like, if/when the Surrey BRT/LRT comes online, someone who doesn't need to leave Surrey could just pay the Surrey local fare, and as long as they don't cross into New West, the distance is X cents per km.
(Keep in mind that paratransit is the by FAR the most expensive form of transit)
CMBC average: $5.19/km (not including fuel)
Access Transit: $40.52 per trip
Skytrain vehicle: $2.67 per km
Skytrain passenger: $0.150 per km
WCE per vehicle: $13.73 per km
WCE passenger: $0.219 per km
Let's assume that the "real fare" cost of taking the bus is $5.19/km, regardless if the vehicle is full or empty
A "full" bus has 36 seated passengers or 81 total possible
A "full" 6-car MKI Skytrain (480) or 4-car MK III (532)
Canada line has a capcity of 334
For one bus to drive one person one km, it should cost them $5.19/km
For one bus to drive 80 people one km it should cost 0.064875/km
A completely empty Skytrain should cost $2.67
A completely full Skytrain should be (MKI: $0.0056/km, MKIII:$0.0051)
If you stay on one bus, that is relatively full the entire trip, and the maximum trip length (from another thread) was roughly 45km(#504) that trip in theory costs $233.55 for trip if there was only one passenger, with 80 it's $2.92
So taking that into account the most expensive bus fare inside one zone should be $2.92. The reality is that only trips from the Ferry (eg #601) are ever this full on every trip.
This is why Translink would suggest time-of-day, because off-peak is actually more expensive, and they save those costs by cutting the service frequency. Since you're not going to hire a bus driver to just drive an empty bus for 8 hours off peak, that is the problem with the bus.
The Skytrain on the other hand has no reason to have an off-peak or on-peak time at all. They can use the fare gates to determine how many trains are needed at specific times and send more/store a few at the pocket track segments in anticipation of that passenger load.
So, same logic:
The longest possible trip on the Expo line Skytrain alone is 29.7km x $2.67 = $79.30 if there is only one passenger. If it's full, end-to-end that is $0.15 (exactly what was quoted in the pdf?)
So the Skytrain subsidizes the bus system, no matter any way you look at it, when it's efficient.
So that gets into the fare calculation, a full train, Surrey to Waterfront, the fare can't be below $0.15, where as the bus, an "all-zone" fare can't be less than $2.92 otherwise it doesn't even begin to cover the longest routes.
So if we look at distance only, let's say that longest trip Translink justifies charging 2.95 ($2.92) for, and a short trip (eg equal to two skytrain stops or about 6km) about $0.40 cents (0.39)
We already know that the buses are more efficient in Vancouver/Burnaby/NewWest and the Skytrain is efficient, so perhaps a fair "distance" rate for that area works out to about 7.5 cents per km or we can call this the "express fare" scale.
Surrey is one of the more expensive bus areas, a full trip from White Rock to the Skytrain is roughly 20km (the same as Waterfront to Columbia via road.) If there was an express (eg White Rock/South Surrey, Newton to King George or Scott Road) B-Line, it could be rated at the same 7.5 cents/km "express fare" scale if it's well used, while all the other routes could be on the "South Fraser" distance scale that averages out the cost of all the bus routes in Surrey (and the City of Surrey would likely claim they could run it cheaper, because they are that full of themselves.)
At any rate we should be encouraging people to use the rail system because it costs less to operate than the buses, however the current fare structure makes people avoid taking the train for trips during peak time unless they have a daily/monthly pass. That suggests that the bus system is carrying more passengers than it needs to because people are trying to save $2 in fare.
Let's assume for a second (these aren't realistic, and are based on nothing for the sake of not wanting to rub it in anyones face how expensive their transit area is)
Vancouver/Burnaby/NewWest = 7.5c/km travel
Richmond/Port Moody/Coquitlam/Poco = 8c/km
Delta/Surrey/Langley = 10c/km
West/North Vancouver's = 12c/km
If an area wants a doubling of it's frequency, it needs to take a doubling of the distance for it's region.
That solves the "well why does X bus system suck so much" problem by having Translink take the money given by the city and using it to subsidize the fares distance rate, or the city can complain about tax hikes till they are blue in the face and Translink ends up cutting frequency instead.
Use the obvious geographic barriers (eg the Fraser River, Pitt River) where a bridge is crossed instead of arbitrarily trying to carve out areas that people don't really know the municipal boundaries of anyway.
There's likely other ways to go about this, but again, it would only make sense if people could tap-in/out from a GPS-enabled smartphone, because they could keep track of where they are, and when their fare card will not have enough for a return/home trip.