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Free transit for kids under 12 included in B.C. Budget 2021

Last Updated Apr 21, 2021 at 7:31 am PDT

Surrey-Langley SkyTrain expansion project promises to connect the two growing cities. (Kelvin Gawley, NEWS 1130 photo) (Kelvin Gawley, NEWS 1130 photo)
Summary

B.C. Budget 2021 includes plans to get children 12 years and under riding public transit for free by September

All On Board Campaign applauds province's plan to get children riding transit for free

VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) — B.C. Budget 2021 includes plans for children 12 years and under to ride transit for free.

It’s good news for some families, with the budget proposing this measure be in place by the time students head back to school in September.

The budget estimates this will save the average family in the Metro Vancouver area about $670 per year, if they usually buy a monthly pass for their child.

This is something the All On Board Campaign has been lobbying for since 2017.

“While we’re still advocating to the government to increase the initiative to include youth up to age 18, we’re very pleased to see this for children and youth,” said the group’s Viveca Ellis.

She says the savings could be even more for some families than the province anticipates.

“If you have two or three children, that’s over $50 a pass per child, plus $100 [the parent],” she told NEWS 1130. “So really, a transit budget for lower-income families can be three or $400 a month. So this overall when you look at the savings, it’s really monumental and extremely important.”

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Ellis adds this step will help keep young people from experiencing “mobility poverty.”

“To not take that spot on the basketball team because they can’t afford the transit back and forth, to not get out to be with their friends at those important events that they really want to be at,” she explained.

Ellis believes this measure will also lay the foundation for universally accessible, publicly funded transit systems in the province.

This program is expected to cost the province about $26 million a year.