Starting April 1, 2023, Huron Shores Area Transit (HSAT) is bringing back its original fare structure of $5 for local trips and $10 for long-distance trips, and increasing its Smart Card Monthly Pass from $50 to $60 for unlimited rides in a 31-day period. Children 12 and under will continue to ride free when accompanied by an adult.
In Ontario communities of less than 50,000 people, about one-third of the cost to operate a fixed route transit system is recovered through the farebox. Transit Consulting Network (TCN), the consultants hired to advise the partner municipalities (Lambton Shores, South Huron, Bluewater, North Middlesex and Kettle & Stony Point First Nation) on the feasibility of public transit in the area, recognized the need to balance the cost of service with affordability for the customer and the transit system. TCN recommended a zone-fare system be implemented where a passenger’s fare is based on their origin and destination. Local trips, like travelling from Forest to Grand Bend, cost $5, whereas a long-distance trip, like travelling from Exeter to London, cost $10.
When the pandemic hit, and in an effort to encourage ridership, HSAT reduced its two-fare structure to just a single $5 fare regardless of origin or destination. In 2022, HSAT provided 7,851 passenger trips and expects to double ridership in 2023. Local residents are responding positively to the idea of getting around by bus, and with the pandemic in the past, ridership appears to be on track to meet the consultant’s ridership goals. However, the $5 everywhere fare is not sustainable in the long term; consequently, HSAT returned to the original $5 and $10 fare structure.
“The affordability and value are still there”, says Transit Coordinator Susan Mills. “If someone is travelling locally, their ticket is $5, and if they’re heading to London, Sarnia, Goderich or Strathroy, the trip is $10. That’s still way cheaper than any other form of transportation!”
HSAT passengers can test out the cost of their favourite trips at HuronShoresAreaTransit.ca/fare-calculator/ where an easy-to-use online fare calculator can determine the cost of any trip within the HSAT service area. There’s also a printable fare chart.