Calgary council approves $5.15 monthly transit pass for city’s poorest
Calgarians living in extreme poverty will soon pay just $5.15 for a monthly Calgary Transit pass — a 95 per cent discount off the regular price.
City council unanimously voted in favour Monday of introducing a new sliding scale for low-income transit pass holders that will come into effect beginning in 2017.
Depending on a user’s income, monthly adult bus passes will cost between $5.15 and $51.50 monthly, a discount of between 50 and 95 per cent off the 2017 regular monthly adult bus pass fare.
Currently, it costs $99 for an adult monthly transit pass and no matter how much a low-income Calgarian earns, they pay $44 to ride the bus or train every month.
The new sliding scale means a single Calgarian, who makes half of the poverty line (about $12,000 a year), will pay $5.15 for a monthly pass, while someone who makes 85 to 100 per cent of the Low Income Cut-Off will get a 50 per cent discount.
“This is a big deal,” said Mayor Naheed Nenshi.
“It means that people who are living in real, extreme poverty in our city — and there are many of them — will now pay just over $5 a month to be able to have a transit pass,” Nenshi said. “And this makes a huge difference in people’s lives. It gets them to medical appointments, to school, to job interviews.”
Formerly homeless Calgarian Nigel Kirk told a council committee earlier this month that a $5.15 low-income transit pass means a homeless person “can now literally pick bottles for a day and buy a (monthly) bus pass with it.”
“That’s huge. They can now find jobs. They can go to their appointments. It’s a huge victory,” Kirk said.
The new bus pass price tag was made possible after the province kicked in $13. 5 million of funding over three years for low-income transit passes in May.