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

Just Posted

A Gofundme campaign is underway for Salmon Arm man Tim Kubash who was injured in an accident on May 5. (Contributed)
Friends step up for Salmon Arm man facing big life reset

Gofundme campaign underway for Tim Kubash after life-altering accident

Song Sparrow Hall producer and sound engineer Craig Newnes with Darrin Herting from Jimmy Two Shoes & the Lost Soles prepare to record for The Wharf Sessions. (Kate Fagervik photo)
Wednesday on the Wharf makes 2021 debut as digital offering

Variety of musicians and musical styles recorded in The Wharf Sessions

Two people were killed in an April 6 collision on Highway 1 east of Salmon Arm. (RCMP Image)
RCMP correct cause of fatal April 6 collision on Highway 1 near Sicamous

Crash resulted in the deaths of both drivers involved

Completion of the Solsqua-Sicamous Bridge isn’t expected until spring 2022. (District of Sicamous photo)
Sicamous bridge completion pushed to spring 2022

Overnight crossing delays expected at Solsqua-Sicamous Bridge, May 19-21

A prowling coyote proved no match for a stray black cat who chased it out of a Port Moody parking lot Friday, May 14. (Twitter/Screen grab)
VIDEO: Little but fierce: Cat spotted chasing off coyote by Port Moody police

The black cat is seen jumping out from under a parked car and running the wild animal out of a vacant lot

A forest of dance-protesters outside the BC Legislature on April 11. These participants were doing the Dance for the Ancient Forest in support of the Fairy Creek blockade and against old-growth logging. (Zoë Ducklow/News Staff)
Arrests begin at Fairy Creek blockade on Vancouver Island

Five protesters arrested as RCMP begin to enforce injunction

A thunderstorm pictured in Fraser Valley in 2021. (Black Press Media/Jaimie Grafstrom)
Wildfire concerns sparked after 320+ lightning strikes blasted B.C. yesterday

Approximately one-quarter of the province is currently listed as being at moderate risk of fire

Coldstream Fire Department was quick to arrive and knock down a fire Sunday, May 16, in a Matner Lane orchard just up the hill from the firehall on Aberdeen Road. (Jennifer Smith - Morning Star)
Coldstream fire crews quick to knock down blaze

Fire broke out just before 2:30 p.m. on Matner Lane, which is just up the hill from the firehall on Aberdeen Road

WorkSafe BC is out in the Interior making sure wineries, cideries and breweries are adhering to COVID-19 safety protocols. (File photo)
WorkSafe visiting Interior wineries, cideries and breweries ahead of tourist tasting season

40 field inspections and 35 consultations are expected over next few weeks

B.C. RCMP released these two photos of Erick Fryer (left) and Carlo Fryer (right). The two brothers from Kamloops were found dead near a remote road in Naramata May 10, 2021. (RCMP photo)
Slain Kamloops brothers found near Penticton not likely connected to recent B.C. gang wars: RCMP

Police confirm the bodies found near Naramata as Erick Fryer, 29, and Carlo Fryer, 31

Several RCMP cruisers stationed out front of Kelowna’s Global Fitness following a shooting on the morning of Monday, March 29. The shooting was later revealed to be gang-related. (Michael Rodriguez/Capital News)
B.C.’s top gangs are operating in Kelowna: RCMP

‘We have all of the major gangs in Kelowna,’ said Supt. Kara Triance

Crews battled a grass fire behind the Tolko mill along the railway tracks off Otter Lake Cross Road in Spallumcheen Monday, April 26. (Caitlin Clow - Morning Star file)
Reports of man lighting Vernon fires with blowtorch

Grassfires sparked near train tracks, behind bottle depot

Kelowna RCMP precinct. (Michael Rodriguez/Capital News file)
Kelowna RCMP promotion process tainted with bias: federal judge

An officer was passed over for a promotion in 2015

Most Read