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Idea of expanded fare discounts brought to TransLink Mayors' Council

Last Updated Apr 25, 2019 at 3:52 pm PDT

(Mike Lloyd, NEWS 1130 Photo)

BURNABY (NEWS 1130) – Metro Vancouver mayors are looking at offering deeper discounts for low income earners, students and children.

But such a move would not be cheap. The annual cost could hit $50 million, and the money would have to come from somewhere.

Ways to cover costs could include a property tax increase, a boost in the fuel levy, or an increase in fares for other transit users.

Staff have been reviewing requirements and the implications of an expanded discount for these people since the summer of 2018.

However, staff say offering more discounts to youth and low-income riders could mean even more people taking transit. Following a year of record-high ridership, TransLink is already struggling to keep up. Adding to the load of passengers could leave other customers paying the regular fare at the curb.

RELATED: ‘We are not keeping up’: TransLink struggles with record ridership

Meantime, advocates have also pushed for lower fares, citing concerns about difficulties for lower-income people, students, and children to afford fares.

Currently, TransLink’s discounts for these demographics includes discounts of 12 to 70 per cent off the regular fare price for Concession fares. Discounted transit is also given to low-income seniors through the provincial government, and those receiving disability assistance.

Children under five years of age ride for free.

According to TransLink, there are about 55,000 Compass users between five and 18 years old.

 – With files from Lasia Kretzel