VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) – More than a thousand low-income seniors and people with disabilities have been left without access to public transit across the province after their passes were “mistakenly” cancelled.
The province has cancelled close to 1,300 BC Bus Passes, issued by the government and given to some of the province’s most vulnerable people. The passes are valid in communities served by BC Transit or TransLink.
Poverty Reduction Minister Shane Simpson says they’ve already been in touch with most of the people who were affected.
“I appreciate the inconvenience these kinds of things will happen,” Simpson added. “What’s important to me is that we responded quickly.”
The error happened during an annual data safety test on Sunday but replacement passes may not arrive until a few days from now.
“Everybody will have new bus passes as of next week but we’ve also put in place systems and supports to ensure people will still get to get on the bus in the interim,” he added.
But not everyone was notified on time, Anne who lives in the Fraser Valley was on her way to Vancouver when she realized her pass was not working. She says she was lucky she had the money to pay for her fare.
“I’m quite surprised about the lag in communication,” she adds, noting the government could’ve communicated with them online. “I don’t know why that wasn’t used and why I just found out about it when I went up to a gate. My concern is for all of the people that didn’t know this was happening.”
She says some may not be as lucky and may not be able to pay for the extra fare despite having already paid for a BC Bus Pass.
“What are they going to do to compensate people who have had to pay?”
She says TransLink has offered temporary passes until the replacements arrive, but notes that would require people going to Vancouver to get it.
-With files from Ria Renouf