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Free transit for kids, discounts for low-income adults supported by Vancouver City Councillor

Last Updated Jan 12, 2019 at 2:25 pm PDT

Vancouver City Councillor Jean Swanson is seen here in an undated photo. (Source: JeanSwanson.ca)

Coun. Jean Swanson is advocating for free transit for children and youth, and discounts for low-income adults

Swanson's motion will ask Vancouver to support the #AllOnBoard campaign

VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) — Kids should ride the bus for free: that’s an idea one Vancouver City Councillor will be proposing at an upcoming meeting at city hall.

Coun. Jean Swanson is asking Vancouver to support political campaign #AllOnBoard that advocates for free transit for children and youth under 18, and discounted fare for adults with low incomes.

“A lot of kids are poor. Their parents are poor,” she says. “People on welfare simply do not have enough money for bus fare.”

Swanson’s motion argues that a lack of transportation is one of the most common reasons for missing medical appointments, and is a barrier to social inclusion and job prospects for low income adults and youth. It says those who attempt to skip paying fare and are caught may not be able to pay the $173 fine, hitting their credit ratings and further worsening their poverty.

The motion wants Vancouver push for changes to existing bylaws to stop ticketing minors for not paying fare, unlink ICBC from fare evasion for youth and adults, and to stop ticketing adults.

It would also have the City write a letter to the ministry of housing, asking that TransLink work with the provincial government to find a way to fund the free and discounted fare program.

The idea also has the support of New Westminster Mayor Jonathan Cote, who is also the chair of the Mayor’s Council. He also wants to discuss the option at the TransLink Mayors’ Council on Regional Transportation by the spring.

“Ultimately, finding the proper funding source to be able to support this program will be the most critical discussion and decision that will have to be made,” he says.

#AllOnBoard as a movement

The #AllOnBoard social media campaign says there should be restorative justice and community service options for adults as an alternative to ticketing for fare evasion, and asks for “non-stigmatizing affordability measures,” among other things.

The group argues that Metro Vancouver lags behind other Canadian and U.S. cities that have affordability measures in place for people who can’t afford transit.

“The result? Children, youth and adults that primarily lack access to any other form of transport in Metro Vancouver remain locked out of our transit system,” reads the about page on the group’s website.

Vancouver City Council motion to support #AllOnBoard