AFFORDABLE TRANSIT

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Intro: 
The most vulnerable Ottawa residents need a City Council who will work towards a city for all—a city where everyone has access to affordable transit.
Why It Matters: 

OC Transpo provides a critical link for people who have limited choices—including the young, elderly, people with disabilities and lower-income residents.

When everyone has access to affordable transit, it contributes to Ottawa’s social wellbeing and economic success. Communities thrive when people can move around easily.

OC Transpo has made a commitment to apply the City of Ottawa Equity and Inclusion Lens to all its services to make sure no one is excluded.

Research has shown that affordable transit promotes increased economic development and increases participation in the labour force.

When transit prices have gone up, the rate of transit use has declined.

Ten Ontario cities (Cornwall, Elliot Lake, Guelph, Halton Region, Hamilton, Kingston, Peterborough, Waterloo, Windsor, York Region) have a low-income transit pass. Toronto is studying the issue. Calgary, Banff, Saskatoon, Regina and British Columbia have a low-income pass.

We Believe That: 

I believe that public transportation should be affordable for everyone, including youth, elderly, people with a disability, and lower income Ottawa residents.

This matters to me because no one should have to pass up going to the doctor, getting a service or applying for a job because they can’t afford to travel within Ottawa.

I am asking City Council to approve a low-income transit pass to make public transit more affordable.

Supporting points:

More than 41 organizations support the low-income transit pass. Plus, 2,200 people have signed a petition on-line and on paper.

The City of Ottawa studied low-income bus pass options and has released a report with two options. We support the option for a Low-Income Transit Pass at the 62% discount. This is similar to the seniors' monthly pass and the Community Pass.

But the Reality Is Troubling: 

The City of Ottawa falls behind other Ontario cities (e.g. Cornwall, Guelph, Halton Region, Hamilton, Kingston, Peterborough, Waterloo and Windsor) by not having a low-income bus pass. The process and systems exist in other Ontario cities.

Rising bus fares makes it challenging for people on low incomes to afford public transit. When transit prices have gone up, the rate of transit use has declined.

Ottawa has one of the most expensive transit systems in the country.

In both 2014 and 2015, Ottawa residents receiving Ontario Disability Support (ODSP) faced an increase in their monthly Community Pass to ride OC Transpo.

In 2014, the highest increase to bus fares was the 16.4 per cent hike in Community Passes, from $35 to $40.75 per month.

There are parts of the city that do not have public transit, including rural communities. In some Ottawa areas busses do not come very often, or end early in the evening, or take an inefficient and winding route.

Community Pass users younger than 65 have to pay additional $2.10 (or one ticket) top-up on Para Transpo each way. That is $4.20 (or two tickets) for each round trip on Para Transpo.

Five percent of Ottawa residents rate public transit ‘excellent’ while 33 per cent rate it as ‘poor’.

Questions to Ask: 
  • The City of Ottawa studied low-income transit pass options and has released a report with two options. We support the option for a low-income transit pass at the 62% discount. This is similar to the seniors' monthly pass and the Community Pass.
  • How will you support the creation of the low-income transit pass for all residents whose income is less than the Low Income Cut-Off?