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

Aboriginal Day celebration in Chemainus

Culture combines with crafts, food and entertainment at Waterwheel Park

Bitcoin and cryptocurrency scams targeting the most vulnerable

Safely navigating a new type of gold rush frontier

Parading through town

Chemainus Summer Fest parade features floats, classic cars and many happy people

Community groups make a large amount of money available to Chemainus grads

Scholarships and bursaries for class members for post-secondary total $85,000

Chemainus Secondary grads embark on a new journey

Friday ceremony a time to reflect on the past, look forward to the future

VIDEO: Killer whale steals fisherman’s catch off North Coast

Fishing duel results in eager orca snagging salmon in Prince Rupert

Fate of accused in Canadian couple’s 1987 killings in jury’s hands

William Talbot’s lawyer says DNA doesn’t prove murder

PHOTOS: North Island home gutted in fire deemed ‘suspicious’

No injuries reported; firefighters prevented blaze from spreading

Child killed after being hit in driveway on Vancouver Island

The driver of the vehicle remained at the crash scene and is fully cooperating

Eating sandwiches, putting on makeup behind the wheel could land you a fine

RCMP say if you cause an accident while eating you could be penalized

Cat badly hurt in animal trap was likely stuck for days, B.C. owner says

Blu, a three-year-old house cat, suffered severe damage to his hind leg after being stuck in trap for days

Vancouver Island woman assaulted after confronting thief

RCMP warn residents to call for police assistance

Island Health issues safer drug-use tips ahead of music festival season

Health authority aims to reduce overdose risks at festivals

40 cats surrendered in apparent hoarding at B.C. home

Officers found the cats living among piles of garbage and feces, suffering from fleas

Most Read