Victoria's free transit program won't be in place for start of school year
Students in the Greater Victoria School District will not have free transit passes when school starts on Sept. 3.
Victoria city council set forth a motion in June to ensure any resident under the age of 19 has access to fare-free public transit no later than Nov. 30, 2019.
Some parents, though, feel the city hasn’t been clear with that deadline.
“We were told we’d have them by the fall," said Cara Hilditch, whose daughter Ruby is set to start French immersion classes as a Grade 6 student at Central Middle School. Living in James Bay, she’ll be riding the bus every day to and from school.
“A lot of us didn’t budget for having a bus pass because we’ve been told all summer you won’t have to,” said Hilditch.
“Coming up with an extra $45 isn’t necessarily the easiest thing to budget for when you haven’t planned on it. It may not seem like much to some people but to others that’s a significant portion of your weekly pay.”
The cost of free transit passes is being offset by paid Sunday parking, which the city implemented in May.
In an email to CTV News, city spokesperson Sheldon Johnson highlighted the Nov. 30 deadline that council agreed upon and said staff are working with BC Transit to deliver on the promise.
Hilditch said the November rollout isn’t helpful. “We were under the impression that when school starts that youth will ride free. By late November it’s already way too late.”