The City of Victoria is hoping to work out a partnership with BC Transit to offer free transit passes to youth 18 and under. (File photo)

Victoria considers instating Sunday parking fees to subsidize youth transit passes

Council is looking for ways to offer youth 18 and under free bus passes

The City of Victoria is looking into developing a program for youth to have access to free transit.

In the City’s draft strategic plan, council suggested offering free bus passes to residents aged 18 and under.

Victoria Mayor Lisa Helps said that BC Transit currently has programs with the University of Victoria and Camosun College where students can opt-in for drastically reduced transit passes, and that the City will be looking into establishing a similar program.

ALSO READ: BC Transit spends over $600,000 on new Victoria buses

“If a parent needs to buy a bus pass for a kid it costs $45 per month, if we opted in every kid in Victoria it would cost $11 per month,” Helps said. “We can’t force parents to pay $11 so we’re looking at a creative way for the city to fund transit passes.”

With approximately 6,000 youth 18 and under in Victoria, the yearly total would hit around $800,000 per year.

Helps said one way the City could finance these costs would be by instating parking fees on Sundays.

ALSO READ: Victoria-born former president and CEO of BC Transit earned $350,862 in 2017-18.

“I can think of no better way to fund transit,” Helps said. “We’ve been subsidizing parking on Sundays too long, whereas we should be subsidizing transit for kids.”

The idea is in its very early stages and will need an agreed-upon partnership with BC Transit and public approval.

The final draft of the strategic draft plan will be published on Dec. 14 and will be up for public discussion until the end of January 2019.

nicole.crescenzi@vicnews.com


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