A motion for free transit for all Greater Victoria youth was defeated by the Victoria Regional Transit Commission Monday. (Black Press File Photo)

Motion for Greater Victoria fare-free youth transit defeated

Victoria Regional Transit Commision votes tied 4-4

A motion for free youth transit passes in the Capital Regional District was defeated Monday, according to proponent Juliet Watts.

The motion, brought forward by grassroots organization Climate Justice Victoria, asked the commission to “prioritize climate action and social equity” by eliminating fares for youth 18 years old and younger travelling on regional public transit.

It is the second time the same motion has been defeated in a 4-4 tie.

RELATED: Climate group demands free transit for all CRD youth

Commission member and Victoria Coun. Sharmarke Dubow said he, Victoria Mayor Lisa Helps, Oak Bay Mayor Kevin Murdoch and North Saanich Mayor Geoff Orr supported the motion, while Saanich Mayor Fred Haynes, Colwood Mayor Rob Martin, Sooke Mayor Maja Tait and commission chair Susan Brice voted against.

Dubow was disappointed with the outcome and said “fare-free transit is not only a smart move for the whole region but a way to improve health outcomes and reduce inequality.”

He said he understands concerns about capacity issues but said they would be addressed with an “active and aggressive” approach to service expansion.

Juliet Watts, the proponent representing post-secondary students in a non-voting seat on the commission said she was “very disappointed to see the commission fail to seize the opportunity to empower the youth in the CRD with fare free transit.”

“If I had the privilege to vote as the representative of the largest demographic of transit users, it would have passed,” she added. “I hope that the commission reconsiders in the future, and goes even further to make all transit free while increasing service levels.”

Climate Justice Victoria co-organizer Aven Knutson was outside the BC Transit boardroom where a number of supporters rallied during the meeting.

“I’m disappointed they aren’t showing that long-term thought to switching to funding more accessible transportation,” Knutson said. “We were hopeful they would change their minds.”

READ ALSO: More than 500 free youth transit passes picked up at Victoria’s City Hall so far

The motion was presented by a handful of students and teachers with a platform of equity and climate action.

“Cost barriers to accessing transit… means [youth] might have to choose between which opportunities and activities they can access,” Knutson said. “Including volunteer, social, education and employment opportunities.”

Knutson also said youth who use transit might be more likely to opt out of driving in the future.

The motion follows the City of Victoria’s implementation of free transit passes for City residents 18 and younger – a program paid for in part by the initiation of Sunday parking fees.

The Victoria Regional Transit Commission is made up of seven elected officials including mayors for Victoria, Saanich, Oak Bay, Colwood and North Saanich. The commission makes decisions on route configurations, transit service levels, fares, operating budgets, spending and the local share of the annual cost of transit service in the CRD.

Black Press Media could not reach opposition voters at the time of publication.



nina.grossman@blackpress.ca

Follow us on Instagram
Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Long wait to reopen is over for Sidney gym

Owner of Sidney’s Anytime Fitness expects safety measures to be in place for some time

Suspect taken into custody after allegedly attempting to steal a dinghy in Sidney

The incident happened Wednesday morning near Beacon Wharf

Colwood hosts pandemic recovery roundtable discussion

Attendees must RSVP for virtual meeting on May 29 from 1 to 3 p.m.

Victoria traffic stop yields drugs, case full of weapons

Police seize firearms, swords and flares

Sooke council approves new funding for chamber of commerce

A $16,000 service agreement to be created

B.C. legislature coming back June 22 as COVID-19 emergency hits record

Pandemic restrictions now longer than 2017 wildfire emergency

POLL: Do you agree with the provincial government’s decision to increase the minimum wage?

B.C.’s lowest-paid workers will be getting a few more dollars to try… Continue reading

As SD84 schools look to reopen, Kyuquot and Zeballos opt out

Schools in Tahsis and Gold River will open on June 1, with 30 per cent students expected to come in

B.C. sees 9 new COVID-19 cases, one death as officials watch for new cases amid Phase Two

Number of confirmed active cases is at 244, with 37 people in hospital

Illicit-drug deaths up in B.C. and remain highest in Canada: chief coroner

More than 4,700 people have died of overdoses since B.C. declared a public health emergency in early 2016

CMHC sees declines in home prices, sales, starts that will linger to end of 2022

CMHC said average housing prices could fall anywhere from nine to 18 per cent in its forecast

B.C. Paralympian named to Canada’s Sports Hall of Fame

Three-time world and Paralympic gold medalist Sonja Gaudet is part of 11-member class

Facing changes together: Your community, your journalists

The COVID-19 pandemic has changed the world in ways that would have… Continue reading

Nanaimo senior clocked going 50 km/hr over limit says her SUV shouldn’t be impounded

RCMP say they can’t exercise discretion when it comes to excessive speeding tickets

Most Read