All-day free transit for seniors comes to Burlington

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Published July 11, 2023 at 10:47 am

Seniors in Burlington will soon be able to ride the bus for free.

And the City will consider letting everyone ride at no cost.

Councillors today approved a plan that will waive the fees for those aged 65 and older who use Burlington Transit.

As well, the City will investigate the costs of providing free transit for everyone. However, a report on that aspect of transit planning will take about a year to complete.

But for the time being, seniors can expect the free bus rides to begin next month.

“Free transit programs have demonstrated that they increase ridership and provide the ability for all residents to participate fully in society,” a report justifying the move reads. “Offering free transit for seniors is another opportunity to build transit ridership and to provide mobility options for seniors.”

Seniors who qualify will have to do so with the use of a PRESTO card.

Since 2019 seniors have been able to ride for free Monday to Friday between 9 a.m. and 2:30 p.m. which has proved to be successful with increased ridership. The report states that senior ridership is currently at 91 percent of pre-pandemic levels and was 22 percent higher in the fall of 2022 compared to the fall of 2018.

In a recent interview with insauga.com, Mayor Marianne Meed Ward said the goal of the City is to reduce transit barriers.

“The more that we can remove barriers to transit the more we can encourage people to use it,” she said, “and the more we can get people to use it will mean the roads are better and there will be less congestion for all of us.”

Burlington already offers free transit to children 12 years old and under as well as providing subsidies for low-income users.

The financial impact of the senior service will be a loss of about $160,000 a year.

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