Free transit will be offered to Victoria youth this fall (Black Press File Photo)

Victoria youth get free transit this fall

The Victoria Regional Transit Commission voted to green light free passes for youth 18 and under

School-aged youth in Victoria will soon have access to free transit.

On Tuesday morning the Victoria Regional Transit Commission voted to grant the City of Victoria a subsidized pass system to Victoria residents aged 18 and under. The passes will be similar to those offered at the University of Victoria and Camosun College, where students pay $135 as part of their student fees for a subsidized pass, except that the City of Victoria will cover the bill.

The funds for these costs are estimated at $850,000 annually and will be funded by newly -instated Sunday parking fees.

READ MORE: Sunday parking fees come into effect in downtown Victoria

“It’s going to have a big impact for parents and kids,” said Victoria Mayor Lisa Helps. “Parents who previously had to buy a bus pass for two kids would spend $1,080 a year. Now that can be used for other things, like ballet and soccer.”

Helps also noted that the free passes offer youth more freedom to move around the city, and a greener option to get around.

ALSO READ: Victoria considers instating Sunday parking fees to subsidize youth transit passes

“This policy kind of ushers in a whole new generation of transit users,” Helps said.

The Transit Commission also discussed two other initiatives, voting to have staff report back on what it would look like to apply the same system across the Capital Region. Currently, only students who have a residential postal code in Victoria will be offered the pass, though they’ll be free to use the pass throughout neighbouring municipalities.

ALSO READ:Central Saanich councillor wants free transit for all

Students will likely be offered the pass as part of their student ID card.

Other municipal leaders were not keen on this idea, including Sooke Mayor Maja Tait.

“It’s a $40 million cost to do this across the board. Where will that money come from? Are we supposed to go to our taxpayers and ask how much more they want to pay so we can give away free transit?” Tait said.

“Transit staff have been asked for a report and we’ll wait to see what that says and at the same time we’re working on our own Transportation Master Plan that will address some of these questions.”

The Commission also floated the idea of extending a free transit pass to everyone, regardless of age, but this was not voted on.

While a concrete deadline hasn’t been set, the free youth passes are slated to appear this fall.

nicole.crescenzi@vicnews.com

Just Posted

New exhibit at Haida Gwaii Heritage Centre, Kay Llnagaay

Ubiquitous Cocoons: My metamorphosing life by Kathy Pick will be running until Sept. 1, 2019

Steve Nash Youth Basketball wraps up in Massett

RCMP coordinated the 12-week program for children between the ages of eight and 10

Smithers man receives two-year sentence for fatal car crash

Over a year after a fatal crash, a Smithers man has been sentenced to two years plus a day in jail.

Backyard burning still prohibited on Haida Gwaii, fire chief warns

Village of Queen Charlotte fire chief Larry Duke is reminding the public… Continue reading

COLUMN: The removal of the Pigeon Guillemot ‘colony’

Birds lost their place after the removal of the old wharf at Shingle Bay in Sandspit

10 facts about Father’s Day

Did you know that the special day for dads was first celebrated in 1910?

B.C. VIEWS: When farmland protection doesn’t protect farmers

Secondary residences aren’t mansions, families tell Lana Popham

Bombers down B.C. Lions 33-23 in season opener

Former Lion Andrew Harris leads Winnipeg with 148 rushing yards

Northern B.C. family remembers murdered Indigenous woman with memorial walk

Still no closure for Ramona Wilson’s family 25 years later

B.C. university to offer mentorship program for former youth in care

Students using the provincial tuition waiver program will soon be able to form a community at KPU

Cyclists competing in one of the toughest bike races on the planet pass through Fernie

Divide riders looking strong as they finish first leg of 4160 km race

You might not know these B.C. records are public

Hired a lawyer to file a civil claim? Those are published online

B.C. bus driver loses case to get job back after texting while driving full bus

An arbitator ruled that Tim Wesman’s phone usage was a “a reckless disregard for public safety”

B.C. Interior First Nation family ‘heartbroken’ over loss of young mom

RCMP have released no new information since the June 8, 2019 homicide

Most Read