Transit Commission votes to give Victoria students a free ride

It's official. Starting in September all K-to-12 public school students, living in the city of Victoria, will begin receiving free bus passes from the Regional Transit Commission.

Chair Susan Brice confirms members have voted in favour of partnering with the city, who will pay $850-thousand a year to provide the youth passes.

Victoria began charging for Sunday street parking last month in order to raise the funds.

" It's been estimated there are, I think 6,400 students, something like that, in Victoria.  And at $135 a piece that comes out to about $850,000. I mean the city of Victoria obviously had some options about how they would use that money, and they've decided that's a priority."

Brice says says Mayor Lisa Helps has also revealed she is looking at expanding the program to all Victoria residents under 18:

" And I understand just from a comment made by Mayor Helps that home schooled and also living in Victoria, they are going to make accommodation there. So, it's students in  the public school system and home schooled living in the postal code living in the city of Victoria."

Brice says staff have been directed to figure out the costs of doing that.  Another idea is to eventually provide all Victoria residents a free bus pass.

Brice says the program has been available to take advantage of since 2016. Since then, 2 independent  schools have, as well as 70 on reserve First Nations students in District 61.

But the program is ONLY for students living in Victoria's postal code. If other Greater Victoria municipalities want to do the same for their residents Brice says they will have to find a way to pay for it.

 

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