Mississauga takes step towards re-introducing fares on MiWay buses

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While the City of Mississauga has not yet decided when it will reinstate fares for MiWay riders, it has taken steps to allow for safe front-door boarding—and therefore fare collection—in the not-too-distant future. 

At an April 29 press conference, Mississauga Mayor Bonnie Crombie announced that MiWay will be adding temporary biohazard barriers on buses to provide additional protection for operators. These shields are being installed in advance of a return to front door customer boarding and will need to be in place before fare collection can safely resume.

"The biohazard barriers are currently being installed. We expect this to be completed by end of June," Catherine Monast, Senior Advisor, Media and Public Information, said in an email to insauga.com

"The barriers enable front door boarding which is necessary for fare collection but no payment remains in place until further notice."

Fares were temporarily waved in March when the city announced that riders would only be permitted to board buses from the back to protect drivers and comply with physical distancing regulations. 

Customers who need to use the ramp to board the bus are still permitted to enter through the front doors.

While it's not yet clear when bus fare collection will resume, it's safe to assume that reinstated fares will help the city—to some degree, at least—on its road to economic recovery. 

Bus fare is just one revenue source the city has lost amid the COVID-19 pandemic and associated shutdown.

At the April 29 press conference, Crombie revealed that the suspension of fare collection has already cost the city $7 million per month. 

The news comes after an April 8 city council meeting during which councillors learned that if social/physical distancing measures remain in place until the end of June, Mississauga could face an almost $60 million deficit. 

At the meeting, Gary Kent, Commissioner of Corporate Services and CFO with the City of the Mississauga, shared a startling report with council and said that if the current COVID-19-related shutdown persists until the end of the year, the city could be looking at a deficit of $100 million.  

The same report indicates that the city could lose $19.3 million on MiWay if physical distancing measures remain in place until May 31. If physical distancing orders persist until June 30, the city could lose $25.8 million on MiWay-generated revenue. 

“COVID-19 is taking an unprecedented toll on our economy and on our city’s finances,” said Mayor Bonnie Crombie in an April 8 statement.  

“The closure of our facilities, cancellation of recreation programming and reduction in transit ridership, has resulted in significant revenue losses." 

Monast said city council will decide when fare collection will resume.

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