What if no one rode the bus?

Happy Wednesday everyone! I thought I’d try and get a jump on the weekly gossip rag and provide a quick breakdown of what the real operating costs of Transit in Cochrane would be. This data was taken from the town of Cochrane webpage.

First, let’s assume that there is NO ONE RIDING the bus for the first year. I know, a strange assumption (but a worst case scenario). This would mean the full cost of 1.1 million dollars is shouldered by citizens through their taxes. How much is that per person?

$0.17 per day. You heard it right. 17 cents per day, per person. (1.1 million divided by 17500 (pop) divided by 365). To provide you with some context, that’s 170mL of gasoline (or less than a cup). Let’s break this down in a monthly context.

For just over 5$/month (10$/month for my wife and I), we could have 7 hours of intra-Cochrane shuttle service, and peak rush hour trips back and forth to the Crowfoot LRT. And this is assuming NO ONE RIDES THE BUS. What if, as predicted (and as indicated by other municipalities), we’re able to recuperate some of the costs through fares. The average fare returns is something like 39% of operating costs. Let’s go with less, say 24% (or 845K/year instead of 1.1 million). It would then cost the average Cochranite $0.13/day!

Do some math on owning that 2nd car (or 3rd or 4th if you have teenagers!). I did. It’s not pretty. 1 tank of gas every month, just for puttering around town and going to Crowfoot costs 60$ (or a year’s worth of Transit service). Add insurance. Add registration. Add maintenance. Add depreciation. Over the past 6 years, we’ve spent an average of 600$/month to own and operate a second vehicle (buying new in 2005).

So, the amount that I currently spend on a second vehicle every month could cover my portion of public transit in Cochrane for 10 years. Seriously.


  1. Wow! What great and informative perspective on the operating cost of Public Transit to Cochrane residents through their taxes even if “nobody rode the bus”. This is a great “presentation of facts” in rebuttal to all those who have been raising “red flags” (and wearing “Stop the Bus” T-shirts) trying to say that having buses is “too expensive”… compared to WHAT?
    I did notice that one of the most outspoken participants on the “Let’s Talk Cochrane” Facebook page, was wearing a toyota jacket (and works at our new Cochrane Toyota). This helped put into context his public and vocal stance against “buses’ in Cochrane. He wanted to have the Plebescite question put a moratorium to prevent any buses in Cochrane for the next two years, and stated that “If we have even one bus route running, then we’ll have buses”, which suggested he didn’t want this to get started or build over time at all… “for at least two years”. Why? I speculate that this will give more time for his employer to build up their business in town of selling more cars, if residents have no other options for getting around. I view this as a “conflict of interest”, and again, a biased view.

  2. Hi Maihaa,
    You’ll notice that I took the individuals name out of your comment, if only to keep this conversation about transit from becoming personal. I think that’s one of the biggest problems so far, how the media has spun this into being about the mayor, or about a councillor, or about any individual. It should really be about the community.

    And if I’m not mistaken, I believe that the owner of Cochrane Toyota (Alex Baum) wrote a nice letter to the editor in support of Transit when the issue first came up, perhaps 2 years ago? I’ll do some digging around to find it. I believe that most businesses in town would support transit given the benefit to the economy of people being mobile. I don’t think transit in Cochrane will suddenly dry up the auto-sales market!

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