Pilot put in motion to increase access to transit for low-income residents in Vancouver

VANCOUVER Council on Tuesday approved an initiative that will explore how to make transportation more affordable for people on low-incomes.

The Reduced Fare Transit Pilot, which is based on the 2019 #AllonBoard campaign, will be funded through $50,000 provided by the Union of British Columbia Municipalities.

Affordable transportation is known to lead to better health outcomes, social connection, employment, education, food security, recreation and childcare for Vancouver residents living in poverty.

“During our engagement sessions for the City’s poverty reduction plan, a lack of access to affordable transportation emerged as a major barrier that kept people in cycles of poverty,” said Sandra Singh, General Manager of Arts, Culture, and Community Service at the City of Vancouver. “We believe that this transit pilot will act as a catalyst to help improve the quality of life for low-income residents.” 

In creating this proposal, staff consulted with people living in poverty and partners to understand what potential pilots would have the most impact.

The approved pilot is a reduced-fare transit program that will seek to design, test, evaluate and make recommendations for free or subsidized single-zone transit passes in Vancouver for 50-100 people experiencing poverty, with Indigenous and racialized residents prioritized – including women, children, youth and families, and people living in temporary modular housing.

The Low Income Transit Pilot was created by the City of Vancouver, in partnership with the Metro Vancouver Aboriginal Executive Committee, Simon Fraser University, TransLink, and other relevant Council Advisory Committees and partners.

This initiative, which will likely be implemented in 2021, aligns with the Healthy City Strategy, the emerging equity framework, and the City’s poverty reduction plan (going to Council by year end).

To read the full Reduced-Fare Transit Pilot Project report, click here.