Free transit available for Victoria youth 18 years and younger by fall 2019

Free transit available for Victoria youth 18 years and younger by fall 2019
The motion to give Victoria kids and teens free transit passes has been approved. File photo.

If you’re 18 years and younger and live in the City of Victoria, you get a free transit bus pass in the fall, regardless of which school you attend.

“The City of Victoria is funding every kid in the city to get free transit,”  says Mayor of Victoria Lisa Helps,

More than 6,000 bus passes will be bought with funds — an estimated $850,000 — from recently-implemented Sunday parking fees.

But students outside the City of Victoria will be out of luck.

“I have a lot of friends that will be in a situation where they’ll be paying way more for transit than people in other parts of the city,” says Samuel Holland, member of Our Earth Our Future (OEOF), a group of young Victorians working for climate action.

“I think this is a matter of equality.”

OEOF is campaigning for transit to be free for all youth, no matter where they live in the CRD.

“This is really only the start and it’s definitely right at their fingertips,” says Emma-Jane Burian, co-organizer of OEOF.

“I’m not gonna say that it’s simple, because nothing is simple, but it’s definitely necessary.”

On Tuesday, the transit commission unanimously voted for staff to look into how much it would cost to provide that service next budget year.

“Anytime we can get more kids riding the bus and making bus riding a part of their life and a habit, that’s good for all of us,” says Susan Brice, chair of the Victoria Regional Transit Commission, the panel that will decide whether they’ll eliminate fares.

But when it comes to people of all ages riding for free in the region, Mayor Lisa Helps says it’s a “road still yet to be paved.”

Helps says a possible referendum on free transit for all is being considered for 2022.

Aaron GuillenAaron Guillen

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