In the meantime, Council deciding how to set these fares without enough data presents a huge barrier for people with limited income. Currently the subsidy program does not track how much a person earns, only if their income is below the low-income cut off which in 2012 was less than $23, 252 a year.
In July, Council decided to freeze "the seniors annual $ 15 low-income pass and $95 annual seniors transit pass" for 2015 when seniors heard it may increase. Age seems to be a determining factor as to how deep a discount should be, yet a seniors income is not tracked by the City. We need to improve the data in order to help Council set fares and subsidies at an affordable rate for the rider, transit and the taxpayer.
Meanwhile, last month nearly 10,000 people who are eligible for a $ 44 monthly low-income transit pass did not buy one. Hall members don't understand why people went to the trouble to apply for the subsidy and are not buying it. However our talks with community tell us $ 44 a month or $ 528 a year (97% higher than what seniors living on low-income pay) says Tammy Poirier "The pass is just too expensive. I don't know if I will be able to leave the house if the pass keeps going up and up."
We hope Council will freeze the discounted fares. The budget debates are expected to run until Friday.
"Concerns over rising costs for Calgarians in budget plans" Global News
"Calgary transit advocates call for more hours, low-income riders urge monthly fares Metro News
"Some fear they could be left behind as council debates new budget"66 CFR Radio
|Brodie and Brad spoke about freezing the monthly discounted $ 44 pass. Brodie says 98% of his use of transit are essential trips, only 2% of his trips are for personal use.
Our Letter to Calgary City Council: