_ (press release) _ **
Today, Mayor Jim Watson, along with the Chair of the Transit Commission Councillor Stephen Blais, announced that a low income transit pass will be included in the City of Ottawa’s 2017 budget. The low income transit pass will be available at a significant discount on the adult general monthly fare for those residents who are at or below the income cut-off (LICO) as defined by Stats Canada. It will be available to residents with an annual individual income of approximately $20,000 or less, or a family income of approximately $38,000, for a family of four. The specific discount of the pass will be revealed when the budget is tabled at Council on November 9.
This announcement comes after a year during which options to provide a low income transit pass were thoroughly debated in our community. Time and again, Ottawa residents have indicated that they support the City’s efforts towards providing lower income residents with affordable access to transit. “The low income transit pass will provide a more viable transit option for our working individuals who live on low wages,” said Mayor Jim Watson. “Significant progress needs to be made wherever and whenever we can to make Ottawa a better place to live for all our residents. By offering a low income transit pass, the City is helping those who would otherwise not be able to afford to get around the City, either to maintain or find meaningful employment, or access healthcare.” The low income transit pass will be offered as a new type of monthly transit pass and will not be subsidised by the cost of other transit passes. City Council’s policy on the amount that OC Transpo collects from its riders versus the amount it collects from taxpayer contributions to transit will remain the same. “Introducing a new transit pass for low income residents will reinforce OC Transpo’s commitment to providing world-class, affordable transit for all Ottawa residents,” said the Chair of the Transit Commission, Councillor Stephen Blais. “This new transit option will help us create an even more affordable City for unemployed residents seeking employment, single parents, recent immigrants settling in Ottawa, or those temporarily out of work due to injury.”
This affordable transit pass could benefit as many as 8,800 eligible low income transit users.