Calgary residents can soon buy a monthly transit pass for $5

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Every month I shell out a bit over a hundred bucks for my Toronto student metropass. Compared to the city’s adult pass, which is $141, that always seemed like a bargain.

Meanwhile in Calgary, some people will soon be able to buy their monthly transit pass for just $5.15, creating significant benefits for the city’s poorest citizens.

This week, Calgary city council voted in favour of this new sliding scale, which will come into effect next year. Currently, Calgary transit charges adults $99 for a monthly pass, while low-income riders can buy a subsidized pass for $44. Thanks to this new initiative, Calgarians who are living in extreme poverty—which means they are making less than $12,000 a year—can pay anywhere from $5.15 to $51.50 a month for a pass depending on their income.

« This makes a huge difference in people’s lives. It gets them to medical appointments, to school, to job interviews, » Mayor Naheed Nenshi said.

Being able to afford transit is an issue for low-income citizens across the country, and other major Canadians cities aren’t making significant steps to improve this.

The most expensive monthly transit passes in Canada are sold in Toronto and Vancouver (surprise, surprise). The Toronto Transit Commission’s adult metropass surpasses all regular monthly passes in the country. In Vancouver, TransLink fares are structured through a zoned system. To access one zone, the monthly pass costs $91, which may seem reasonable, however the price rises to $124 to access two zones and $170 for all three. The way Vancouver’s zones are structured, a large number of commuters going to work or school need at least a two-zone pass.

Nenshi argues that creating a $5 monthly bus pass will help end the cycle of debt and poverty among the low-income population because they won’t owe the transit system for unpaid rides.

Source : Vice

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