Mar 18, 2013

Notice of Motion is a costly step backwards for people living in poverty


Public Statement for Immediate Release

Monday, March 18, 2013 - 



Notice of Motion is a costly step backwards (NM2013-03)


On Monday, people who use the low-income transit pass program will be watching carefully as a notice of motion is debated at Calgary City Council that will potentially create more barriers, involve two more levels of government and cost tax payers more money to address an issue that already has a near perfect fare compliance rate. Do we really want to spend more tax payer’s money,  have transit staff create a way for two more levels of government to track the program and create more rules for people to ride the bus?  


Instead, members of the Disability Action Hall wish to see the conversation and motion redirected to raising awareness that Calgary Transit has improved ways for people to apply for the low-income transit pass effective on March 18, and encourage people to visit www.calgarytransit.com to see the improved rules. 


Members of the Disability Action Hall have fought nearly 12 years to help establish the low-income transit pass program and would rather see council’s energies refocus on the improvements made to that program, such increasing the income for people to qualify and including youth in the program.


NM2013-03 asks the administration to explore the impact of having people who use the program to hand in last month’s bus pass. 

This motion creates two major difficulties. First, not everyone can afford to buy a pass every month, so they would not have a pass to turn in the following month. A whole new process would have to be created to reinstate people who had not purchased the previous month’s pass. Second, people retain their previous month’s pass to hand over to trustees and to report to Revenue Canada. The City will have to create a whole new process to provide that information to provincial trustees and to federal tax collectors. This motion will create more bureaucracy and cost more money than it is worth what Calgary Transit itself has identified the 17 cases as relatively minor issue given the total number of incidents detected.


We have sent two letters to City Council that this motion will create more problems than it solves. We need to focus on getting people on the bus, not creating more red tape. This motion goes against reducing the red tape and sustainability goals of making it easier for people in poverty to use subsidies provided by the City.


  • Handing in last month’s bus pass will create more barriers to the 99.99% of the population who ride the bus without incident.
  •  Our City needs to focus on community well-being, and help raise awareness that we have improved the program.
  • Smart Cards planned for the future will address issues of  fare compliance.
  • Transit already has halved fare evasion by 50% and continues to improve its performance.
  • Calgary Transit already has a transit bylaw in place that can bus used to address this concern.





We welcome City council to contact us if there are additional questions at 403.717.7630

1 comment:

  1. Calgary Transit appreciates the hard work of the Disability Action Hall and efforts to make the Low Income Monthly Transit Pass available to customers who require assistance to meet their transportation needs. The benefits derived from the freedom to travel throughout the city as required, at an affordable cost, should not be underestimated. However, we must ensure that this benefit program is monitored so that it is not abused by those who can afford to pay a regular fare.

    Processes are in place to monitor the sale and manage the use of a Low Income Monthly Transit Pass. Calgary Transit is aware that there have been instances where a pass has been used by an ineligible person. However, we have no information to suggest the improper or inappropriate use of such passes is a widespread problem.
    We will continue to work with community groups to ensure access to public transportation is fair and equitable for all Calgarians as directed by City Council. This week Calgary Transit expanded the Low Income Monthly Transit Pass program to provide eligibility to youth, people registered with the provincial Alberta Works programs, customers in the Resettlement Assistance program and those sponsored by registered social workers.

    Please visit calgarytransit.com/lowincome for more information.


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