01/02/2013 10:47 EST | Updated 03/04/2013 05:12 EST

TransLink fares rise for 2013

Lower Mainland transit users will pay more to ride the bus, SkyTrain, HandyDart and West Coast Express this year.

Cash fares went up 10 per cent on Jan. 1 — a hike of $0.25 or $0.50, depending on the zone — while monthly fare passes rose 12.5 per cent, anywhere from $10 to $20.

TransLink senior manager for policy Geoff Cross says the change reflects the cost of running the system.

“This is required in order to keep up with cost increases over the last few years and recent improvements that we've put on the street back,” he said.

“And most recently, as part of the Moving Forward program … we've rolled out some services including the new Port Mann Bridge service, the route 555.”

Cross says the overall increase reflects inflation because cash fares haven't gone up in five years.

“Transit fares represent roughly 50 per cent of operations, so this is essential income in order for us to maintain those services that our customers rely upon,” Cross said.

Higher fares aren't the only change riders will see this year.

Newly installed fare gates will become operational in the fall, when users will begin to pay with the new Compass cards.