Victoria transit approves plan to provide free bus passes to students
|Toronto Star 13 Jun 2019 at 03:31|
VICTORIAâStudents in British Columbiaâs capital city can ride the bus for free next school year after the regionâs transit commission approved a Victoria council plan to fund transit passes with parking revenues.
The Victoria Regional Transit Commission unanimously approved the plan to provide free bus passes to students who live in the city and are 18 years old or under.
Commission chairwoman Susan Brice said Wednesday the city will use parking revenues to pay the estimated $857,000 annually for bus passes for about 6,350 students who are expected to be eligible. She said the city recently started charging downtown parking fees on Sundays and those revenues will fund the bus passes.
âThe Victoria city council approached the commission and asked to have a youth pass program, which they would fund,â said Brice.
She said the transit commission is studying the costs associated with providing free bus passes on a region-wide basis, but it isnât making any promises for students who live in other Victoria-area communities.
Brice said she didnât want to âgive an impression to the public that this is kind of a first step and then, âBoom,â itâll be the whole of Greater Victoria because, obviously, from the commissionâs point of view that would be a big budget decision.â
She said Victoria council members told the commission the free bus pass initiative is part of the cityâs plan to fight climate change by reducing harmful carbon emissions.
âThe reality is that when anything, which has a greater community good, can be paid for with a source that is not direct taxpayer funded, I think thatâs creative,â Brice said.