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Calgary Transit to reimburse ‘convenience fee’ for low-income transit users

Calgary Transit will reimburse low-income transit users who were charged a convenience fee for making a purchase on the city’s new online store.

Concern over the $2.50 fee was raised last week by Rev. Anna Greenwood-Lee, Co-Chair and spokesperson for the Calgary Alliance for the Common Good.

Greenwood-Lee said the fee penalizes those people who can least afford it. She led a group that successfully lobbied the city to continue funding the low-income transit pass in the last budget adjustment. Some fares were to jump substantially.

In Monday’s combined meeting of council, Coun. Druh Farrell raised the issue of the convenience fee with administration during question period.

“There is a convenience fee that I was unaware of for transit pass customers for Calgary Transit. Is there a plan to reduce the fee or eliminate the fee for low income customers,” Farrell asked.

Calgary Transit director Doug Morgan said the new online store began Jan. 1 and it allowed payment to be made for transit passes online.

“As part of that new store, we did implement a $2.50 per transaction fee, convenience fee to cover our costs to process the fare product as well as to mail it out,” he said.

Calgary Transit accounts will be credited if fee was paid

Morgan acknowledged that they’ve heard from their customers that the fee is a challenge for many.

“So, we have reflected on that and we will be reducing that fee to zero for all low-income transit pass customers,” Morgan said.

He went on to say that if Calgary Transit customers have already paid the fee for January, they will credit those accounts and they can use it on future fares.

“Just an oversight on our part leading into the new year,” said Morgan.

Greenwood-Lee is happy to see Calgary Transit making good on something she said should have been done in the first place.

“Glad to hear they are waiving the fee for low income people,” she said.

“Too bad they couldn’t have done that from the get go.”