Jul 25, 2014

Is affordable transit only meant for Seniors?

Members of the Hall are crossing fingers Calgary City Council will stop providing special discounts for one vulnerable age group and not the other. Transit fares are becoming increasingly more costly & may move beyond reach of Calgarians who need accessible, affordable transit. 

Two ways we see how to address the affordability is to:

-Introduce a single ride fare at 50% of the adult single fare and
-Create a sliding scale for the many Calgarians regardless of age, cannot afford a transit pass beginning at $ 54 a year based on income. 

Evidence shows many persons aged 35-44 volunteer the most (figure 1) and are also part of the work force facing extreme barriers to better jobs with better pay (figure 2). 

Over the last week members of the Disability Action Hall shared with City Council while we are grateful for the $ 44 a month pass, it is no longer affordable, meanwhile poverty groups feel discriminated against despite pleas for the latest fare strategy to be based on affordability & fairness, yet transit and some City Councillors continues to provide only affordable rate discounts for seniors.
Age 35 to 44 volunteer most at nearly 63%
Figure 1: Ages 35 to 44 Volunteer the most according to Statistics Canada 


The proposed fare strategy is counter-intuitive to the City of Calgary's  Sustainability Direction targets of equity, and prosperous economy. The fare strategy may end up creating more barriers to employment and for people to contribute to the economy and society. Giving one privileged group better discounts based on age and not on fairness principles such as social inclusion and income as outlines in the current Fair Calgary City Policy.  The current fare strategy only pits one vulnerable group against the other. 

Figure Two: Majority of citizens earning less than $15 an hour are ages 25-44 years of age


If you think we need more a more simple, fair fare structure, please call 311 or write your Councillor a letter prior to Monday, July 28th, 2014. 

Sources: 

Kolkman, John, Joseph Ahorro and Bill Moore-Kilgannon, Achieving the promise of ending poverty in Alberta. (Alberta College of Social Workers, Public Interest Alberta  and Edmonton Social Planning Council; November 2012). Available at: http://www.campaign2000.ca/reportCards/ 





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