Victoria to consider free bus passes for homeless
A motion tabled by two city councilors estimates that the cost of the free bus pas program would be up to $10,625 per month.
VICTORIA -- Two Victoria councillors have tabled a motion calling for the city to invest in free bus passes for unsheltered people in the municipality.
Councillors Sarah Potts and Sharmarke Dubow are asking the city to provide up to $10,625 per month to make the bus passes available free to the city’s homeless.
The councillors say that many homeless people do not have access to essential facilities, like showers, and that the free bus passes could help unsheltered people connect with these resources if they live far from community facilities.
According to the Coalition to End Homelessness, access to hygiene and transit are the most pressing issues for unsheltered people, after housing.
The city estimates that there are currently 250 homeless people in Victoria. Approximately $11,250 to $21,250 would be needed to provide everyone with free bus passes.
Potts and Dubow say that bus passes purchased through the Community Social Planning Council are matched on a one-to-one basis with the Victoria Regional Transit Commission, which usually reserves an amount of bus passes for people with low incomes who have urgent transportation needs.
The councillors are proposing that Victoria purchase the necessary number of bus passes needed for the current homeless population through the Community Social Planning Council, which would effectively cut the cost of the proposal in half.
Through the cost-sharing program, Potts and Dubow estimated that $5,625 to $10,625 per month would be required to fund the free bus passes.
If approved by city council, the program would be in effect for six months, at which point it would be reviewed.
Victoria city council is set to discuss the motion at a committee of the whole meeting Thursday.