Winnipeg moves one step forward on low-income bus pass
If the plan is approved, the low-income bus pass will start at around $70 in May 2020. (CTV News file image of a Winnipeg Transit bus.)
WINNIPEG -- He’s still recovering.
Bus rider Dale Harvey suffered a stroke over the summer, limiting his mobility.
"A little precarious at times because, having to walk everywhere I go," said Harvey.
He prefers transit. But now out of work because of his health issues, Harvey says he can't always afford the bus.
"Now especially – myself -- being low income, it is quite stressful," said Harvey.
Winnipeg city hall has taken another step towards a low income bus pass at half the regular price. The public works committee passed a report on costs, eligibility and timelines.
If approved during the upcoming budget process, a monthly pass would cost 30 per cent less, at $71.75 starting in May 2020.
The price would then drop to $62.75 in 2021 and $53.35 when fully phased in, in 2022.
"I think we'll see, we'll see some people choosing to take the bus who are currently not making that choice because it’s not available to them," said Coun. Matt Allard, chair of public works.
Based on lost revenue estimates with a discounted fare and to accommodate more riders, the city says the program will cost $3 million a year by 2023.
Coun. Jeff Browaty voted against the plan. He says transit is already struggling to keep up with current service levels.
"I appreciate that the cost of transit is a burden for low income individuals, I just don't think that this is the next best money to be spent," said Browaty.
On the flip side, Josh Brandon from the Social Planning Council of Winnipeg says while he welcomes the low income bus plan, it's still too expensive. Brandon says single fare discounts are needed and suggested a sliding scale of prices based on income would be better.
"Even at 50 dollars a month, it's still going to be out of reach for a lot of people," said Brandon.
Dale Harvey says he's on board with the proposed fare.
"50 is a real good price," said Harvey.
If implemented, the program will be reviewed after one year to see if any changes are needed.