Transit for Low-Income Riders

Doctors’ appointments, going to class, picking up kids from daycare, stopping by the grocery store, getting to work on time.

For many women in Calgary, hopping on the bus is an important part of day-to-day life, and a necessary tool for participating in their community.

For those who qualify for a Low-Income Transit Pass, they pay $44/month for a single adult. It is a price that’s too high for many to afford. A recent survey showed that almost 40% of Calgarians who live in poverty pay each time they take transit because a pass is too expensive. Others are forced to walk or stay isolated.

Anyone who has been to the Women’s Centre on a Tuesday morning knows about our weekly bus ticket program. At 9:30 am, dozens of women call in for a chance to get a book of bus tickets. Every week, we run out in a manner of minutes.

Recently, the Government of Alberta announced funding to the tune of $4.5 million for the next three years to support Calgary’s Low-Income Transit Pass. The Standing Policy Committee on Community and Protective Services is meeting on July 6th and public transit fair is on the agenda.

Together with Fair Calgary Community Voices, we’re asking City Hall to introduce a sliding scale fee for adults and children, which means we want to see a low-income bus pass that is much less expensive than the current $44/month, and gradually increases as a person’s income does. In addition, we will request for City Councillors to increase the ceiling for the Low-Income Transit Pass for people whose income is slightly above the cut off, but who still live in poverty.

The sliding scale fee is just one piece of, Enough for All, a city-wide poverty reduction plan. We know that the best case scenario would be better social assistance programs so women are not living in poverty in the first place. That said, women are calling for more affordable public transit to be available now. The benefits of mobility are too critical to ignore.

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