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Quarter of Vancouverites write off transit passes: TurboTax

Online tax filing service says Vancouver is the second most transit-friendly city based on the percentage of people claiming public transit refunds.

People board a bus in Vancouver.

Jennifer Gauthier/For Metro

People board a bus in Vancouver.

Vancouver is among the most transit-friendly cities in Canada, if people’s tax returns are anything to go by.

Online tax filing company TurboTax aggregated the data of Canadians using its software to see how many people are claiming government rebates for buying public transit passes.

According to the data, Vancouver is the second most transit-friendly city, with 26.8 per cent of people from here claiming their passes on TurboTax.

Toronto is first with 30.9 per cent.

TurboTax spokesperson Robin Taub, a personal finance consultant, says the figure is a good indicator of how well a city’s public transportation system fares.

Only unlimited use passes (like monthly or yearly passes) can be written off, so everyone who claims the rebate likely uses public transit as their primary mode of transportation.

She says the number of people claiming transit passes on their tax returns, especially in big urban cities with built up infrastructure, is a sign city dwellers are thinking green.

“I think we’re moving in the right direction in terms of having people leave their cars at home,” said Taub.

Overall, 11.7 per cent of British Columbians using TurboTax claimed the Public Transit Amount this year. The national average is 10.6 per cent.

The only other B.C. city to crack to Top 15 list of transit-friendly cities was Victoria, which ranked ninth with 10.4 per cent of people claiming their transit passes.

The Top Five is rounded out by Ottawa in third (21.9 per cent), followed by Edmonton (17.4) and Calgary (16.6).

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