City of Victoria, BC Transit yet to develop finalized youth transit passes

The City is proposing an interim pass option for November

The City of Victoria and BC Transit have yet to develop a long-term solution for the proposed youth-transit pass.

In a report coming to the committee of the whole on Thursday, city staff outline the roadblocks seen so far in initiating the plan, and propose a possible solution which could see interim passes in place by November.

According to the report, the City of Victoria is hoping to have a year-long BC Transit pass at a subsidized rate of $11.50 per month, as is seen in the Universal Pass (“U-Pass”) for students at Camosun College and the University of Victoria. In July, the Victoria Regional Transit Commission voted to grant the City a subsidized pass of this nature, but logistics have yet to be ironed out.

READ MORE: Free transit passes coming for Victoria youth this fall

Presently BC Transit doesn’t have any form of annual subsidized youth transit pass in place . The only other pass type which BC Transit carries is the monthly $45 pass for people aged 18 and under, something which the city says is too “expensive and cumbersome for an ongoing program.”

The City also found that initiating a U-pass would require a high rate of administrative needs, which prompted it to propose developing a customized visual, non-swiping card for their pass, similar to the ones used by low-income seniors or people with disabilities on the Translink system. However, BC Transit vetoed the idea, saying that it would add more to a driver’s duties, and also bring forward “increased fare disputes and fraudulent use.”

ALSO READ: Greater Victoria commission says ‘no’ to regional youth transit pass pilot

This made the City to come forward of the idea of combining the U-Pass rate with a monthly card to test out what the ridership would be. If students could purchase passes for $11.50 per month for a pilot period, the city could gather data on ridership and have a better idea of how to further develop the plan.

All costs for the establishment of a new youth transit pass are supposed to come from the revenue of the newly-instated Sunday street parking fees. The passes were initially set to be installed in the fall of 2019, and be available to anyone under 19. BC Transit defines anyone 19 and over as an adult, so passes will only be available to those 18 and under.

The City of Victoria will have a meeting with the Victoria Regional Transit Commission in November, and hopes to have the interim passes approved at that point.

nicole.crescenzi@vicnews.com

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