Vernon council has unanimously endorsed an expansion to a transit program.
Adults who have a valid monthly DayPASS, ProPASS, U-Pass or BC Bus Pass will be able to bring up to four children aged 12 or under on board for free any day of the week. The program expands to include adults paying with single tickets or cash fares on weekends and statutory holidays.
Weekends are from 6 p.m. Friday to end of service Sundays.
“This is to promote knowledge of the transit system and to encourage families to use transit as a regular means of transportation,” said City of Vernon transportation manager Amanda Watson.
The move is part of council’s unanimous endorsement of amendments to a new charter or free transit service policy.
Part of the amendment called for the implementation of a pilot project through the Vernon and District Immigrant and Community Services Society that would permit each new refugee to Vernon to obtain a bicycle (up to $70) each from Venture Training’s Cycle Cycle to a maximum of $700 annual.
Funds would come through the 2018 and 2019 transportation demand management budget.
“I don’t have a problem recommending money for refugees but I do have a problem when we have a lot of families and kids in our community who have been here for a long time and they can’t afford a bike,” said Coun. Catherine Lord. “This is going too far. We do a lot for refugee families but this is a slap in the face to kids and families who can’t afford a bike right now.”
Added Coun. Scott Anderson: “I’ve bought bikes or repaired bikes for those who can’t afford it from Cycle Cycle. There are too many people out there who need bikes. To single out one part of the population for special treatment, and they might not even need it, is wrong, frankly.”
Council voted unanimously to defer the matter to the Social Planning Council of the North Okanagan for their input.