Last Wednesday, July 6th 2016, at the Standing Policy Committee on Community and Protective Services, to which I am a committee member, we approved a sliding scale for lower-income transit riders.
Implementing a sliding scale low income transit pass is an important step to help more people. Before this, our low income pass was available to anyone below the poverty line. That meant that someone making 24,000 a year could get a monthly pass for the same amount that someone making $8,000 could. For those on extremely low income, they couldn’t afford that monthly pass, so they had to scrape together money to buy regular full fare tickets. A sliding scale is a more fair way to be able to offer appropriate and helpful discounts.
So now, we will have three steps of low income transit passes. For those making between 85 & 100 per cent of LICO (Low Income Cut Off or, the poverty line), they will get a 50% discount on a transit pass, which is the same as the current Low Income Transit Pass rate. Those making between 50 & 85 percent of LICO will receive a 65% discount, and finally those making below 50% of LICO ($12,400 or less) will receive a 95% discount on a monthly transit pass.
This will mean that people will be able to access transit to get their children to child care, be able to make appointments and be able to use transit in looking for employment. The city and its opportunities now opens up for those on the extreme low end of the income scale, where before, they were shut off from them.
I am proud that we have come to this point, and thank the Provincial Government’s commitment in helping us reach this point.