FILE – A bus is pictured in downtown Vancouver, Friday, November, 1, 2019. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward

FILE – A bus is pictured in downtown Vancouver, Friday, November, 1, 2019. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward

Public transit to be free for kids 12 and younger – a ‘bold’ B.C. budget line advocates applaud

Program could save families upwards of $50 per month

If you have a child who’s 12 years old or younger, you soon won’t have to pay for their public transit pass.

The B.C. government has unveiled a free transit plan for kids as part of their 2021 budget Tuesday (April 20). The plan will cost the government $26 million per year and come into effect in September.

It will apply to any public transit system in B.C., including TransLink (and HandyDart) and BC Transit. Previously, both transit agencies had allowed children up to four or five years old to ride for free.

According to B.C. budget documents, the new program will save families in the Metro Vancouver area about $672 per year if they typically bought their child a monthly pass.

While BC Transit fares vary by community, a youth pass in Victoria or Kelowna was $45 per month, while one in the Central Fraser Valley cost $35 and one in Williams Lake was $36.

Late last year, Victoria city officials announced a free U-PASS program for youth ages six to 18, which launched in February and will run until December.

Viveca Ellis, provincial organizer at the Single Mothers’ Alliance for Gender & Economic Justice, said Tuesday’s announcement represents a win for advocates.

“We’ve been advocating for free transit from zero to 18 and we applaud this bold move to make transit free for all children and youth ages zero to 12,” Ellis said. Ellis has been calling for free transit for teens for years, and presented the idea – along with three former youth in care – to TransLink in 2018.

“So we advocate for government to immediately expand it to age 18 when they roll it out in the fall of 2021.”

For more on the 2021 B.C. Budget, click here.


@katslepian

katya.slepian@bpdigital.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Want to support local journalism during the pandemic? Make a donation here.

2021 B.C. BudgetBC TransitTransLink

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

Just Posted

This rendering shows the proposed warehouse for lands under the authority of the Victoria Airport Authority near a Sidney residential neighbourhood. (York Realty/Submitted).
Sidney calls on Victoria Airport Authority to improve design of planned warehouse

Council stops short of a definitive statement for or against proposal

A partnership is looking to identify skeletal remains that were discovered by recreational divers in the Gorge Waterway this February. (Black Press Media File Photo)
Divers find partial human skull in Gorge Waterway

B.C. Coroner Service determines remains likely historical, not ancestral

A man was arrested after allegedly threatening people downtown on May 10 while brandishing this knife. (Photo courtesy of VicPD)
Man armed with a knife arrested for allegedly threatening people in downtown Victoria

Officers used de-escalation techniques during afternoon arrest

Colwood council voted to give businesses less of a cut than planned and will look for more cuts this week. (Black Press Media file photo)
Colwood council gets back to work after voting against 9.3% property tax hike

Emergency meetings this week will find more cuts, finalize tax plan by Friday deadline

A bullet hole is seen in the windshield of an RCMP vehicle approximately 4 km from Vancouver International Airport after a one person was killed during a shooting outside the international departures terminal at the airport, in Richmond, B.C., Sunday, May 9, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Homicide team IDs man in fatal YVR shooting as police grapple with spate of gang violence

Man, 20, charged in separate fatal shooting Burnaby over the weekend

Two-year-old Kashius Weme rides at the Steve Smith Memorial Bike Park in Nanaimo on Tuesday, May 11. The youngster’s precocious bike-riding ability is already attracting cycle sponsors. (Chris Bush/News Bulletin)
2-year-old bike rider on Vancouver Island already attracting cycle sponsors

Nanaimo’s Kashius Weme has a knack for extreme cycle sports

Keith MacIntyre - BC Libertarian
Penticton’s Keith MacIntyre new leader of the B.C. Libertarian Party

The Penticton businessman was voted in by members of the party on May 8

RCMP are searching for Philip Toner, who is a 'person of interest' in the investigation of a suspicious death in Kootenay National Park last week. Photo courtesy BC RCMP.
Man sought in suspicious Kootenay death found in Lake Country

Philip Toner is a person of interest in the death of Brenda Ware

Vernon North Okanagan RCMP reported to 287 mental health calls between Jan. 1, 2021, and May 1. (Black Press files)
‘It’s not the police’s responsibility to deal with mental health calls’: Vernon RCMP

RCMP remind public to take care of mental health and well-being, while better solutions are sought

Thompson Rivers University campus is in Kamloops, B.C. (KTW file photo)
Thompson Rivers the 1st B.C. university to supply free menstrual products

The university will offer the products this September

Fraser Health is using ‘targeted’ vaccination clinics in high-risk areas of the Lower Mainland. (Fraser Health photo)
B.C.’s COVID-19 decrease continues, 515 new cases Tuesday

426 seriously ill people in hospital, up from 415 Monday

A scene from the Schoolhouse Squat from October 2018, where Alliance Against Displacement members and supporters occupied the Rutherford Elementary School site, advocating for people experiencing homelessness. (News Bulletin file)
‘Schoolhouse Squat’ activists get conditional discharge in Nanaimo school occupation

Ivan Donald Drury, Tingchun (Listen) Chen sentenced in provincial court in Nanaimo

The site of Sunfest, Laketown Ranch, will be open for camping this summer. (Citizen file)
Sunfest country music bash won’t be shining on B.C. in 2021

Annual Vancouver Island Festival cancelled due to COVID-19, along with Laketown Shakedown

Most Read