BC Transit bus not in service. (Keili Bartlett/News staff)

Victoria Foundation unwraps free bus passes for those in need

Just in time for the holidays, the Victoria Foundation offers a gift to those grappling with the cost of public transit. A grant of nearly $23,000 means agencies around Greater Victoria can provide more than 17,000 free bus trips for people struggling to make ends meet.

“The Victoria Foundation is very happy to be able to grant these funds, especially at this time of year when many people are more financially strapped than usual,” said CEO Sandra Richardson. “Our annual Victoria’s Vital Signs report highlights the importance of accessible transportation for all people to satisfy basic necessities and fully participate in society. The evidence shows an ongoing need to support vulnerable, low-income populations in our community so that they can get to and from work, as well as access services such as health care, food banks and other programs. The bus ticket program that this grant will go towards is an efficient and effective way of doing just that.”

READ ALSO: Victoria Hospice named in top 100 Canadian charities list

Since 1997, the Victoria Regional Transit Commission through BC Transit has provided bus tickets, and more recently passes, to the Community Social Planning Council to distribute through social service agencies. Agencies must have a mandate to work primarily with low income people and provide assurance that the tickets are being distributed free of charge to assist people with low income with urgent transport needs.

Last year, 65 agencies purchased more than 110,000 bus tickets to distribute. In the New Year, the council plans to provide 17,000 tickets. Funds will also be used to help offset a portion of the operating costs associated with running the program.

“The council is grateful to the Victoria Foundation and its donors for helping to expand this invaluable program,” said Heather Gardner, Chief Executive Director of the Community Social Planning Council. “We hear from many people that the cost of living is becoming more and more unbearable each day. Costs are rising well beyond wage increases. This program really makes a huge difference for so many people, and especially for families who have multiple activities each day.”


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