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Rising diesel rates ups Paradise’s busing costs

By Mark Squibb/April 14, 2022

While riders won’t feel the pinch, the cost of running the Metrobus in Paradise just got more expensive.

“During budget deliberations, we approved a 2022 per kilometre rate for Metrobus services within the town,” said councillor Elizabeth Laurie at last week’s public council meeting. “Those are of course based on the operating budget established by the St. John’s Transportation Commission. So, the rate charged is based on the estimated cost and expenses to provide the bus services here in Paradise. The contract for services state that the commission actually reserves the right to change the rate immediately following a 30-day written notice to Paradise, where it’s determined that the actual cost of providing bus services and other services during the period have changed significantly.”

Laurie said the Town received notice that effective April 30, the rate will increase from $7.03 per kilometre to $7.30 per kilometre, which Laurie said was due to significant increases in diesel costs.

The rate increase constitutes an increase of $8,337 over the 2022 approved budget. Additional costs will be absorbed by the Town’s transportation operating budget.

The motion to accept the increases passed unanimously, though not without discussion.

Councillor Glen Carew asked if the rate will go back to $7.03 if the cost of fuel decreases.

Laurie said that as far as she knew, the rate is adjustable and had decreased in the past in accordance with the price of diesel.

Chief Administrative Officer Lisa Niblock said that should the price drop significantly, the Town can follow up with the commission to inquire whether rates will decrease once again.

Councillor Patrick Martin added that if diesel prices continue to climb, the rate could actually increase again.

“It’s a relied upon service right now in the Town of Paradise for some residents, so we’ve just got to try and absorb the cost where we can,” said Martin.

The Town originally budgeted $310,089 for public transportation in 2022.

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