VICTORIA -- As BC Transit fares return to Vancouver Island next month, the City of Victoria says that free monthly youth transit passes are back.

The passes are available for any resident aged 18 or younger.

To assist with physical distancing, the city has launched an online application process for the youth passes.

Eligible families who live within the municipality can apply for the pass online here, or by contacting the city’s public service centre at 250-385-5711 or through email at

Free youth transit passes for June, July and August will be mailed directly to individual homes.

“Although transit has been free during the COVID-19 pandemic, fares are returning over the coming weeks, so this innovation is perfectly timed,” said Mayor Lisa Helps in a release Friday.

“I believe in free transit for youth and I’m excited to see this valuable program moving forward in a way that keeps residents and staff safe.”

BC Transit was first made free across Victoria and Nanaimo on March 19 due to COVID-19. Bus fares will return to Vancouver Island public transit starting June 1.

On June 1, front-door boarding will also return, though health safety measures like enhanced cleaning and passenger limits to allow for physical distancing will remain in effect.

According to the city, Victoria’s free youth transit passes are the first of their kind in B.C.

The municipality adds that it is still committed to its transportation strategy, which involves increasing public transit ridership to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

The city says that currently 12 per cent of all trips to and from Victoria are made on public transit. Victoria hopes to increase that number to 25 per cent by 2030.