A decision on whether London will offer free LTC bus rides to kids 12 and under was delayed at City Hall Tuesday.
The cost to fund the project would be around $150,000, an amount that is not currently included in the multi-year budget. The Community and Protective Services Committee asked staff to include the item during upcoming budget talks, and to identify potential sources of funding.
“Myself, I think we can make progress on the transit for kids 12 and under, I think that’s very doable and a good idea,” said Councillor Jesse Helmer.
Free bus rides for kids 12 and under was one of the recommendations made by the Mayor’s Poverty Panel.
The committee also approved a staff recommendation to hold a public participation meeting to discuss slashing bus passes for low-income Londoners. The City currently gives seniors a 25 per cent discount on their monthly pass, while the blind ride for free.
“I personally am in favour of changing the formula, changing the people who we are going to support with this, let’s go with it from there,” said Councillor Harold Usher.
A City report said subsidies would change to be offered based on income for adults over 18, and those who qualify would get a 50 per cent discount on the $81 monthly fee.
There are currently around 569 senior bus passes issued in London monthly, along with over 44,000 senior bus tickets purchases monthly. Of the 64,100 seniors living in London, 605 are living under the low income cut-off. On average, there are 400 visually impaired Londoners accessing public transit per month.
According to the latest statistics, there would be almost 29,000 adults, 18 years and older, living under the low income cut-off who would become eligible for the new program.
If councillors sign off on the idea, staff would like to see the program move forward with a 2-year pilot project starting January 1st, 2018.
A public participating meeting to discuss changes to bus rider subsidies will be held on December 13th, while budget talks will continue on November 24th.