The Woodridge Youth Art Action Group created a video in 2012 that brought awareness to the high costs of transit passes for low income youth. They presented this video to Calgary's City Council and requested change. City council, moved by their stories and video, voted to change the price for low income families.
In 2012, those under the age of 18 are ineligible for the Low Income Transit Pass and Youth aged 7 ‐ 17 pay $57.50 per month for a monthly transit pass. Our research tells us that the high cost of transit is a major barrier for youth living in vulnerable situations, preventing them from accessing school, employment, recreational programs, and social supports. We also know that many households living under the Low Income Cut‐Off (LICO) are considerably strained, and cannot afford the monthly transit pass at $94.00 per month. Similarly, individuals living on Assured Income for the Severely Handicapped are no longer eligible for the Low Income Transit Pass because their income is above 75% of LICO. The above recommendation would address these priority issues.
We believe in the principle of providing subsidies based on ability to pay, and therefore encourage City Council to expand the program to include all individuals considered to be living in poverty, including youth. Investing in youth now will save systems more in the future through reduced social costs, health care costs, and stronger communities. Doing so will also ensure policies surrounding the Low Income Transit Pass move towards fairness and transparency. With the upcoming budget deliberations, the opportunity to identify the necessary funds to make these changes is before us.