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Green Party’s free transit proposal shot down by province amid rising fuel prices

The provincial government is rejecting a proposal from the Green Party to allow free public transit across B-C over a period of four months.

BC Transit bus (MyPGNow staff).

Party leader Sonia Furstenau stated British Columbians would save hundreds of dollars especially important in this day and age of record-setting gas prices.

But Environment Minister George Heyman mentioned the move would only cost transit systems hundreds of millions of dollars in lost revenue with no major reduction in car travel.

Heyman added the government has already acted to keep transit prices low and to keep routes in service despite a massive drop in ridership.

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BC Transit also issued the following statement to Vista Radio:

Fares and schedules are determined by BC Transit’s local government partners, who also collect all fare revenue. Typical passenger revenues for BC Transit are approximately $82 million per year or $6.8 million per month. However for the fiscal year 2022/23, when factoring in the Safe Restart funding received and the Free Transit For Children 12 & Under the program, it is roughly $5.2 million per month.

Providing free transit would lead to a significant loss of fare revenue for local governments. Public transit offers an affordable and reliable mode of transportation for people considering alternatives to driving, and is a more sustainable and environmentally friendly method of travel.

BC Transit will continue to work with the Province and our local government partners to meet public transit demands in the communities we serve in British Columbia outside of the Lower Mainland.

with files from Vista Radio newswire

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