News / Vancouver

B.C. brings back free bus pass for persons with disabilities

NDP reverses previous Liberal government decision to scrap annual bus pass.

People board the 99 B-Line outside Commercial-Broadway SkyTrain station in Vancouver.

Jennifer Gauthier / Metro

People board the 99 B-Line outside Commercial-Broadway SkyTrain station in Vancouver.

The NDP government is bringing back free bus passes for people with disabilities starting next year.

Minister of Social Development and Poverty Reduction Shane Simpson outlined the government’s plan on Monday to reverse the controversial BC Liberal decision to scrap the annual bus pass in 2016 when it raised disability rates $77 a month.

People can either apply for an annual transit pass or receive a new monthly $52 transportation supplement to cover other transportation costs. The supplement appears on monthly assistance payments starting Dec. 20.

The program will cost the government $70 million.

“People have shared their concerns over the changes made to the B.C. Bus Pass for people with disabilities, and fixing this has been a priority for our government,” Simpson said in a statement. “Beginning in January, anyone with a disability who is on assistance will be able to get a bus pass and they will no longer have $52 deducted from their support payment.”

The announcement was lauded by Inclusion BC executive director Faith Bodnar.

"The transportation supplement is a major improvement that acknowledges all British Columbians with disabilities on assistance should receive support to get around in their communities, wherever they live," Bodnar said. "This, along with the increase in earnings exemptions, is an important step forward in providing people on disability assistance with the capacity to work, improve their quality of life without penalty and contribute economically to the province.”

The bus passes and transit supplements are on top of the $100 increase in monthly disability payments previously announced by government.

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