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

Exhibit showcases work of veteran taxidermist on Cortes Island

Dozens of mounted animals on display at Wild Cortes

Stranded hikers rescued by helicopter on Mt. Schoen

Campbell River Search and Rescue used hoist operation to rescue trio

Fire chief urges residents to check smoke detectors following structure fires in Campbell River

Smoke alarms failed in three incidents, including fire that destroyed second storey of home: Doherty

Coroner’s inquest into fatal police shooting in Port Hardy begins in Campbell River

James Reginald Butters, 24, killed in 2015 after RCMP responded to call of male uttering threats

Pile of wood mulch ‘spontaneously combusts’ in North Campbell River

Business owner thanks fire department for quick response

VIDEO: Title of 25th Bond movie is ‘No Time to Die’

The film is set to be released in April 2020

New study suggests autism overdiagnosed: Canadian expert

Laurent Mottron: ‘Autistic people we test now are less and less different than typical people’

B.C. father tells judge he did not kill his young daughters

Andrew Berry pleaded not guilty to the December 2017 deaths

Trans Mountain gives contractors 30 days to get workers, supplies ready for pipeline

Crown corporation believes the expansion project could be in service by mid-2022

Rosemount cooked diced chicken linked to listeria case in B.C.

The symptoms of listeria include vomiting, nausea, fever, muscle aches

B.C. seniors allowed more choice to stay in assisted living

Province doesn’t need to wait for a complaint to investigate care, Adrian Dix says

Retired B.C. fisherman wins record $60M Lotto Max jackpot

Joseph Katalinic won the biggest Lotto Max prize ever awarded

Island manslaughter suspect found not guilty in Supreme Court

Court accepts accused’s argument of self-defence for 2017 incident in Courtenay

Most Read