Mayor sets sights on free transit for youth 12 and under
Currently only children under the age of five get to ride transit for free
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Mayor Don Iveson has asked city administration to look into the financial implications of allowing children 12 and under to ride ETS for free.
Currently, only children under five can ride transit for free.
During his election campaign last year, Iveson promised to look into increasing the age of children riding the bus for free to make Edmonton “Canada’s most family-friendly city”.
“It’s really just to make it easier for all families but particularly low-income families to be more mobile, and to get out and enjoy the city," Iveson said, after making the information request to administration at a council meeting on Tuesday.
He says the change would help manage congestion during busy events.
Ahmed Bushiha, a downtown resident, says he would "very much encourage” the change as he would prefer to take transit with his eight-year-old son more frequently.
“If it’s free, I would take my son to his school on the LRT instead of in the car,” he said.
A resident of downtown, Bushiha says travelling with his son around would be a lot easier, as the reason he doesn't take the bus more often is because he has to pay for his son too.
“I would rather take the bus. There is never parking and it’s downtown so it’s so expensive,” he said.
Iveson has asked administration for cost and impacts of increasing the age eligibility, although he believes the impact will be minimal.
“I’m hopeful that we would come out equal on this, if not, even ahead with more transit riders and more families having that choice and fewer cars on the road coming and going from busy events," he said.
The report will be presented to council in 12 weeks.
Iveson says if the financial implications are insignificant or small, he hopes to have the age increase happen by summer break.