Oakville considers free transit rides for kids and seniors


Published January 26, 2023 at 11:24 am

If Mayor Rob Burton has his way, kids and seniors will ride for free on Oakville buses.

With Oakville Transit ridership down and council looking for ways to increase it to pre-pandemic levels, Burton asked budget staff at a meeting earlier this week to bring back a proposal for a 2023 pilot of free transit for youth and seniors.

Council has been looking at different ways to get residents back on the bus.

“Let’s motivate all youth and seniors since Ontario gives so much to regular users who use GO,” Burton said. “We’re in a funny situation where regular riders are riding almost free and the ones we want to encourage to use it have discounted passes already, but we would like to explore: would there be uptake if the only barrier was that you had to have a PRESTO card so that we could count your ride?”

Ward 1 Town and Regional Councillor Sean O’Meara believes the need is there to make transit free for kids under 12 permanent.

“Five years from now we want them using the buses,” he said.

Oakville Councillor Allan Elgar said the pilot would be better including students.

“Somehow we have to get people on the buses and I can’t think of a better way to do it than to get them in high school and in public school,” he said.

Ward 7 Town Councillor Scott Xie inquired about an off-peak pilot project for seniors from Monday to Friday, to offer seniors “good options and encourage their use of public transportation.”

“Ward 7 Councillor Scott Xie also brought up the possibility of an off-peak pilot project for seniors from Monday to Friday,”

“(To offer seniors) good options and encourage their use of public transportation,

A program for running a free fare pilot project for the seniors and the 0 to 18 age group will be designed by staff, who will then report back on the budget impact and implications of the pilot.

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