Today marks one year of Metro Vancouver children under 12 years old having free access to public transit.
Last September, the province, TransLink and BC Transit announced the Get on Board - Kids 12 and Under Ride Free program across the province in order to invest in safe, sustainable, and affordable transportation.
When the program launched, they estimated that about 370,000 kids — 200,000 in Metro Vancouver — under 12 were eligible to ride for free. To date, TransLink estimates there have been about three million free rides on public transit in Metro Vancouver.
“This is the first provincewide program of its kind in Canada and it’s great to see how successful free transit for kids 12 and under has been in its first year. These young people are the transit riders of the future and our government’s focus on improving transit infrastructure will ensure there’s an efficient, affordable and robust system for them in the decades to come," said Rob Fleming, Minister of Transportation and Infrastructure, in a press release.
“We know families are looking for ways to get around their communities that are convenient, safe and affordable, and that reduce pollution,” said Environment Minister George Heyman, who's also responsible for TransLink.
As public transit fares increase every year, amid rising inflation and living costs, the government says this program allows families to not worry about how their children will get to school or commute around the city.
“By providing free public transit for children 12 and under, we’re helping parents keep money in their pockets and encouraging families to take transit to help their kids get to school or around town. We want to make sure that more families benefit from this program so that we can encourage a new generation of regular public transit users," added Heyman.
The province says a family with one child is able to save $58.60 monthly on a TransLink pass and could save more than $700 annually.