More low-income earners to receive transit ticket assistance

Members of the Victoria Regional Transit Commission agreed last week to temporarily boost the number of subsidized tickets and monthly passes it provides to the Community Social Planning Council

More of Greater Victoria’s needy will have access to subsidized bus fares.

Members of the Victoria Regional Transit Commission agreed last week to temporarily boost the number of subsidized tickets and monthly passes it provides to the Community Social Planning Council.

The increase will allow B.C. Transit to provide a 25-per-cent increase in the number of fares it allocates through its transit assistance program to non-profit social service agencies, at a cost of two for the price of one.

It’s the second time this year the commission has approved a hike to B.C. Transit’s assistance program, driven by a growing need for transit services and more social service organizations in Greater Victoria raising funds to buy tickets and passes, said Maureen Sheehan, B.C. Transit director of business services.

Without the increase, the council expected to run out of subsidized fares by the end of March 2012, despite the commission decision in May to increase the allotment from 90,000 to 112,000 tickets and from 800 to 1,000 monthly passes.

From now until next March, 135,000 tickets and 1,200 monthly passes will be allocated.

“There’s a huge need for it,” said transit commission chair and Oak Bay Mayor Christopher Causton.