Two Nanaimo city councillors, who are also Directors of the Regional District of Nanaimo, are proposing youth ride transit for free around the region.

On Wednesday, Coun. Don Bonner wrote on social media that while he was riding the number 40 bus to a Nanaimo council finance and audit meeting, the bus was full of NDSS [Nanaimo District Secondary School] who have to pay to go to school.

“Time to make riding the bus free for youth under 19,” Bonner wrote.

Coun. Tyler Brown says he submitted a motion Wednesday for Regional District of Nanaimo staff to examine the Kingston, Ontario model that gives free bus passes to students in grades 8 to 12. It started three years ago.

“What they’ve seen as a consequence of their program is very significant gains in terms of overall transit ridership and also continuing on beyond grade 12 which is good for the transit system as a whole,” said Brown.

Brown’s motion is expected to go before the RDN Board on December 10th. The RDN extends from Cedar to north of Qualicum Beach.

The Nanaimo Ladysmith Public Schools’ Transportation Department provides daily school bus service for approximately 1,390 students. The transportation is available for students who live outside the walk limit boundaries.  Students in Kindergarten to Grade 3 living beyond four km (2.5 miles) from school are eligible for the school bus. Grades 4-12 pupils living beyond 4.8 km (3 miles) from school are eligible for the school bus.

Kindergarten to Grade 12 students in the Regional District of Nanaimo Transit System pay $40 a month for a bus pass.

Bonner’s proposal comes as Victoria prepares to roll out free bus passes for youth aged 12 to 19, starting Dec. 1.