02/05/2013 05:05 EST | Updated 04/06/2013 05:12 EDT

Edmonton Bus Fares Are Too High

Edmonton transit fares just went up to be the highest in Canada, and I expect Edmonton Transit is just trying to do a good job and at least break even on budget.

But, I remember, way back in the distant past, when I took transportation economics at university, there was a time when transit fares were political.

Here is the deal, the older established generation wants to help the younger generation get their start, get their first job, and in this case get to their first job. It's almost like how public education was subsidized by everyone, for the sake of the youth, public transportation was subsidized by everyone, for the sake of the youth.

The famous "page 6" Graham Hicks, started a great Christmas gift card program for teenagers because he was aware that some teenagers don't have much. They are just starting out and you are asking them to pay $3, $6, $9, $12 every day just to get somewhere? You can feed a whole family for $12 dollars if you buy enough macoroni, and some families have to do this.

Edmonton City Council should take ownership of the Edmonton transit fare structure with a view of helping the youth of Edmonton. Bus fares should be political because politics is the art of the possible, and it is possible to help the youth this way. If there is a transit deficit, that's OK. It's like everyone in Edmonton is pitching in to help the youth in Edmonton get their start.

How about trying for a month setting the bus fare for 19 and under to a Loonie and the adult fare at a Twoonie, and Kids under 6 free. With a little advertising hype, perhaps ridership will increase enough that the financial result won't be much different than we have today. Except, as Edmontonians, we can then be proud of having the lowest bus fares in Canada, serving our youth, instead of just the opposite.

PS. And sure, it would be good for a family day pass to include two adults, instead of just one, and however many children they have.