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

Trinity Western University student Kevin Chai created TWU Access Chapters to help alleviate feelings of isolation among his peers. (Special to Langley Advance Times)
Connection to combat loneliness at Langley’s Trinity Westrn University

Student from Maple Ridge creates online social network

Langley’s Danielle Lawrie will play for Canada again. Final roster for the Olympic team was announced Wednesday, May 11. (Black Press Media file photo)
VIDEO: Langley’s Danielle Lawrie to pitch for Canada at the Olympics

Champion thanked her children for allowing ‘mommy to live out a cool dfream’

Aldergrove Community Secondary. (Undated Google maps photo)
23 Langley schools on COVID exposure list after latest alerts

Five independent schools are on Fraser Health’s exposure list

Heavily armed police officers responded to a call on 203rd Street near Fraser Highway. (Dan Ferguson/Langley Advance Times)
Update: Police swarm Langley City dollar store after report of man with gun

Weapon turned out to be Airsoft pistol, police said

B.C. Labour Minister Harry Bains in the B.C. legislature, May 13, 2019. (Hansard TV)
VIDEO: B.C. to provide 3 days of sick pay for COVID-19 absences

Province will support employers on cost, labour minister says

BC Housing minister David Eby. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito)
Eby jabs back against Penticton mayor’s ad urging BC Premier to intervene in shelter dispute

Eby writes that Penticton’s ‘serious’ social issues won’t improve under leadership of the mayor

What3words was first created in the U.K. in 2013 and is credited to saving the lives of outdoor enthusiasts around the world. (Contributed)
‘This is a life saving tool’: App helps paramedics find capsized canoeists near Revelstoke

What3words pinpoints the person’s phone location to a three-meter range

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry updates B.C.’s COVID-19 situation at the B.C. legislature, April 29, 2021. (B.C. government)
B.C.’s COVID-19 rate creeps up again, 600 new cases Wednesday

One more death, 423 people in hospital with virus

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

B.C. Agriculture Minister Lana Popham takes questions in the B.C. legislature in 2017. (Hansard TV)
UPDATE: B.C. will fund another year of fresh fruit, vegetables, milk in schools

John Horgan government working on school meal program

Surrey RCMP is releasing sketches of a suspect in an “indecent act” at the Coyote Creek Elementary playground on April 30, 2021. Police said the suspect was clean-shaven “during some interactions” and on “other occasions had stubble outlining a goatee and mustache.” (Images: Surrey RCMP handout)
Vancouver mayor-elect Kennedy Stewart addresses supporters in Vancouver on Sunday, Oct. 21, 2018. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Vancouver mayor says there’s no time to redo details of drug decriminalization plan

Kennedy Stewart says a federal election could see the small window of opportunity close on the city’s bid for an exemption from criminal provisions on simple possession of small amounts of drugs

Premier Mike Horgan received his first dose of a COVID-19 vaccine. (Facebook/John Horgan)
More than 50% of people eligible in B.C. have received 1st vaccine dose

‘We’ve made extraordinary progress together over the past few weeks,’ says Premier Horgan

Most Read