Kids ride free: Burlington proposes free transit for students

Published November 26, 2019 at 5:05 pm

Students could soon be riding the bus for free in Burlington.

Students could soon be riding the bus for free in Burlington.

As part of the 2020 budget, Mayor Marianne Meed Ward is proposing free transit for students age 12 and under, which would take effect Jan. 1 in alignment with Metrolinx fare changes.

In March, Metrolinx waived the GO fare fee for all children age 12 and under.

“Free transit for the students of Burlington will help reduce their dependence on cars, thereby reducing emissions and helping our environment, as well as increase overall ridership of our public transit system,” stated Meed Ward.

The mayor added that Burlington has seen a positive response and ridership increase as a result of our free transit for seniors and low-income residents pilot launched earlier this year.

Currently, only children under the age of six ride for free. Kids and teens (6-19) are charged $1.90 for a single ride and $40 (6-12) or $70 (13-19) for a monthly Presto pass.

Halton school boards already contribute funding towards the partial cost of student transit passes but under the current proposal, the boards would be asked to maintain the funding to help offset the potential loss of revenue under the proposed initiative.

The French public and Catholic boards have reportedly submitted letters of support of this initiative to the City of Burlington.

According to city documents, stakeholders from all four English and French public and Catholic school boards that operate in Burlington, along with Sue Connor from Burlington Transit have been engaged in memorandum of understanding (MOU) discussions throughout 2019. While the Halton District School Board has passed a resolution supporting, in principle, working towards an MOU regarding free student transit in Burlington.

The English Catholic board is currently working on its own resolution.

The proposal will go to committee on Dec. 2, and council on Dec. 16.

All reports are reviewed and/or approved by the Department Director, Director of Finance, and Director of Legal. Final approval is by the City Manager.

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