Victoria City Council has bold ambitions for public transportation in the province’s capital. Councillors want to introduce free public transit to everyone in the region.
At a Committee of the Whole meeting on Thursday, April 25th, councillors passed a motion that urges the regional transit commission to eliminate bus fares.
The motion was brought forward by Councillor Ben Isitt and Councillor Sharmarke Dubow, which stated that “user fees currently pose a barrier to public transit use, in terms of the financial barrier to people with low to moderate incomes”.
Councillor Ben Isitt mentioned that Kingston, Ontario has eliminated user fees for public transit for people under the age of 15. They’ve also introduced a universal pass program for high school students in 2017.
As for lost revenue from bus fares, it could be made up for with provincial subsidies, property taxes or the gas tax.
Existing Fare Structure
User fees are determined by the Victoria Regional Transit Commission, with a current rate of $2.50 per user per ride.
A discounted monthly pass of $45 is available for those 18-years-old and younger, and anyone 65-years-old and over. The discounted monthly pass is $85 per month for all other users.
The motion calls on the regional transit commission to first start with a pilot project in 2020 that would allow everyone under 19-years-old to ride for free.
Victoria City Council will present this free public transit motion to to the transit commission and local governments to get further support for this idea.
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