News / Calgary

Calgary Transit to introduce sliding scale for low-income passes

Depending on income, Transit passes for low-income Calgarians could be as low as $5

Metro File Photo

What can some low-income Calgarians do with $5.15? They can ride Calgary Transit for a month knowing they’ll get from point A to B without having to pinch pennies.

On Monday, councillors voted to reach deep into city coffers and expand the lower-income pass offering by adopting a “banded” system. This will change the current $44 pass to one that's price dependant on income, according to the low income cut-off (LICO) scale.

This will deepen the current discount for pass holders up to 95 per cent based on their income for 2017.

The item was carried unanimously, and followed by a raucous applause.

“We’re helping people who live below the poverty line,” said Coun. Brian Pincott. “This will help the most vulnerable in our community have the opportunity to access services, to access education, jobs; Public Transit was a barrier to all of those things.”

Mayor Naheed Nenshi said out of all the decisions council has made, this was the most important one.

“The next step is what we do with working people who are making just above the poverty line,” said Nenshi. “Right now there’s just a sudden drop off…our next step is to ease that transition.”

In this decision, administration and council had to decide whether it was best to help the living poor or the working poor; council decided to start at the bottom end of the sliding scale.

The move came fully-funded thanks to the provincial government’s low-income transit grant of $4.5 million annually for three years.  There's no additional cost to the city for this program.  

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