Free transit will be offered to Victoria youth this fall (Black Press File Photo)

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

BC TransitCity of Victoria

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

Just Posted

The roof is rising at the Okanagan Wealth Advisors Pickleball Complex at Marshall Field (Nov. 30, 2020). (Contributed)
Raising the roof over Vernon Pickleball courts

Upon completion, Vernon will be home to country’s biggest dedicated Pickleball courts

Join Rob Dinwoodie and bandmates for a Cowboy Christmas, Dec. 11 and 12 at Vernon and District Performing Arts Center. Seating is cabaret style on the stage for an intimate concert. (Contributed)
Vernon cowboys go virtual for Christmas

Cowboy Christmas streamed Dec. 11-25

Blair Peden, a longtime board member with the Turning Points Collaborative Society, was an amateur Formula Ford racing driver with a cause in the 1970s and ’80s. (Contributed)
Longtime Vernon board member hangs hat after 44 years

Turning Points Collaborative Services celebrates the accomplishments and commitment of Blair Peden

Okanagan College students Michael Ochoa and Tallin Gregoire, both members of the Okanagan Indian Band, raised the Okanagan Nation Alliance flag on July 16, 2019,  outside the Vernon campus. (Karissa Gall photo)
First Nations reconciliation personified at Okanagan College

President Jim Hamilton’s foresight has opened post-secondary education doors for Okanagan College’s Indigenous students

Mrs. Snowman is missing from a neighbourhood Christmas display after it was stolen Sunday, Nov. 29. (Contributed)
Missing snowmen go for an evening stroll in Lake Country

Large Mrs. Snowman cutout apparently went for a walk

A B.C. Ambulance Service paramedic wearing a face mask to curb the spread of COVID-19 moves a stretcher outside an ambulance at Royal Columbia Hospital, in New Westminster, B.C., on Sunday, November 29, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
B.C. records deadliest weekend of COVID-19 pandemic with 46 deaths; more than 2,300 cases

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry provides COVID-19 update

Salmon Arm RCMP officers attended two public COVID-19 demonstrations held in Salmon Arm on Saturday, Nov. 28.  (File photo)
Organizer of Salmon Arm COVID-19 demonstration fined $2,000 by RCMP

Police said some participants weren’t aware of the public health order prohibiting gatherings

Black Press Media and BraveFace have come together to support children facing life-threatening conditions. Net proceeds from these washable, reusable, three-layer masks go to Make-A-Wish Foundation BC & Yukon.
Put on a BraveFace: Help make children’s wishes come true

Black Press Media, BraveFace host mask fundraiser for Make-A-Wish Foundation

Sunny the cat, who jumped out of the truck at the Revelstoke Landfill earlier this month, was quickly reunited with his owners. (Contributed)
Cat returns home with the help of two landfill workers

Sunny jumped out of the truck at the landfill in November

Christy Jordan-Fenton is the co-author of the book Fatty Legs, which has been mentioned amid the controversy of an Abbotsford school assignment on residential schools.
Fatty Legs co-author responds to Abbotsford class assignment on residential schools

Children’s book mentioned amid controversy at W. A. Fraser Middle School

Kootenay East MLA Tom Shypitka takes over as energy and mines critic for the B.C. Liberal opposition. Kelowna-Lake Country MLA Norm Letnick (right) moves from health critic to assistant deputy speaker. (Hansard TV)
B.C. Liberals pick critics to take on Horgan’s NDP majority

Interim leader Shirley Bond takes seniors, long-term care

An impaired driver was found responsible for a crash on Highway 97 near Seacrest Hill in Oliver Thursday, Nov. 26, 2020 in Oliver. (Black Press file photo)
Impaired driver rolls vehicle in violent crash near Oliver

Vehicle crashed through a fence, tree and telephone line

Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance Chrystia Freeland listens to a question from a reporter on the phone during a news conference in Ottawa, Monday, Nov. 30, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Spending too little worse than spending too much, Freeland says as Canada’s deficit tops $381B

‘The risk of providing too little support now outweighs that of providing too much’

Still from a video surveillance camera of a man alleged to have stolen from several people at knife-point in Chilliwack (Rosedale) early on Nov. 28, 2020. (Facebook)
B.C. man defends his family against intruder, saves neighbour while wielding hockey stick

RCMP looking for footage that captures violent crime spree in Chilliwack

Most Read