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

Our View: Talking to kids about drugs

Communication is even more vital in the wake of an apparent overdose death

B.C. manhunt suspects left cellphone video before they died: family

Two B.C. suspects of a Canada-wide manhunt reportedly recorded a cellphone video… Continue reading

North Island drug deaths spike, rate second-highest in B.C.

Area spanning north from Comox Valley trails only Vancouver in fatal overdose rate

Dead Vancouver Island man identified, shoes and backpack missing

Investigators say body found in Saanich was Victoria’s Andrew Michael Sidor

Four years, no answers in murder of Deedee Brown

Chemainus-area teen was last seen with friends on Penelakut Island in summer of 2015

Disney Plus to launch in Canada in November

Analysts say latest streaming service may escalate cord cutting

Parksville man, 75, goes missing from north Nanaimo home

Police dog services called in to help with search

Restrictions ordered to save fish in parched Cowichan Valley river

Province says Koksilah River fish populations under threat due to low water flows

Tow strap trips up Victoria cyclist

Police looking for witnesses to incident where cyclist hit line connecting vehicles

North Island wildfire listed as out of control

But Sara Lake blaze near Port Alice expected to be under control soon

Okanagan bus driver assaulted for asking patron not to smoke

59-year-old in hospital with non-life threatening injuries

Graffiti clean up costs Victoria businesses roughly $1M a year

Business association teams up with city in campaign to reduce graffiti in downtown

PHOTOS: Hundreds welcome HMSC Regina home to Vancouver Island

Navy ship returns to Esquimalt after nearly 6 months at sea

Most Read