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

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

A photograph of the real firearm beside the replica firearm seized by VicPD in the early hours of April 18. (Courtesy VicPD)
Police seize loaded firearm, drugs during traffic stop in Victoria

Officers find cocaine, methamphetamine and fentanyl along with loaded handgun

Sidney council approved a broad package of tax relief measures, but concerns about its timing and effectiveness remain. (Black Press Media File).
President of cannabis company considers legal action against Sidney

Sidney already lost one legal action by another cannabis retailer in summer 2020

Colwood restaurants can use city property for patios. (Black Press Media file photo)
Temporary patios back on for Colwood restaurants

Council voted to extend temporary permits to 2022

Sidney Volunteer Fire Department as well as Sidney/North Saanich RCMP and BC Ambulance responded to a dryer fire on Orchard Avenue. (Sidney Volunteer Fire Department/Twitter)
Dryer fire doused in Sidney

Cause of Monday afternoon remains under investigation

(Black Press Media file photo)
Woman returned to West Shore on warrant after crashing in Oak Bay

Smashed car windows, stolen outboard, missing diamond round out police briefs

In this image from NASA, NASA’s experimental Mars helicopter Ingenuity lands on the surface of Mars Monday, April 19, 2021. The little 4-pound helicopter rose from the dusty red surface into the thin Martian air Monday, achieving the first powered, controlled flight on another planet. (NASA via AP)
VIDEO: NASA’s Mars helicopter takes flight, 1st for another planet

The $85 million helicopter demo was considered high risk, yet high reward

Families of two of three workers killed in a train derailment near Field, B.C., in 2019 have filed lawsuits accusing Canadian Pacific of gross negligence. The derailment sent 99 grain cars and two locomotives off the tracks. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
Families of workers killed in Field train derailment allege negligence in lawsuit

Lawsuits allege the workers weren’t provided a safe work environment

(New Westminster Police)
4 youth arrested after 30-person brawl in New Westminster leaves 1 seriously injured

Police are looking for witnesses who saw the incident take place

South Surrey’s Paul Cottrell, who works with the DFO, tows a grey whale out of Semiahmoo Bay Sunday. (Contributed photo)
Dead whale floating near White Rock towed to shore for necropsy

Animal has been dead since at least April 15

Wickaninnish (Clifford Atleo) plays the drum while singing the Nuu-chah-nulth song on the court steps in Vancouver In a picture from April 2018. Photo credit, Melody Charlie.
Five western Vancouver Island First Nations celebrate legal fishing victory

Court ruling confirms Nuu-chah-nulth fishing rights in case dating back to 2003

Sunday’s storm rocked one of the ferries crossing Kootenay Lake. Photo: Dirk Jonker
VIDEO: Storm makes for wild ferry ride across Kootenay Lake

The video was captured by ferry employee Dirk Jonker

Dr. Bonnie Henry gives her daily media briefing regarding Covid-19 for the province of British Columbia in Victoria, B.C, Monday, December 7, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Toddler marks youngest British Columbian to die related to COVID-19

Child one of eight people to die from virus this weekend

Chakalaka Bar & Grill remains open in defiance of orders from Island Health to close. (Cole Schisler photo)
Island Health seeks injunction against restaurant defying COVID-19 orders

VIHA says Ladysmith-area Chakalaka Bar and Grill also violating water and sewer regulations

Pharmacist Barbara Violo arranges all the empty vials of the Oxford-AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccines that she has provided to customers at the Junction Chemist which is a independent pharmacy during the COVID-19 pandemic in Toronto, on Monday, April 19, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
B.C. to open up AstraZeneca vaccines for all people 40+, set up clinics in hot spots

A total of 13 neighbourhoods and communities will receive the AstraZeneca vaccine

Most Read