Free ride program for youth, seniors an early success for Oakville Transit


Published June 8, 2023 at 2:20 pm

A new program at Oakville Transit that allows youth and seniors to ride for free has already increased ridership in the first month it was implemented. OAKVILLE TRANSIT PHOTO

A program to provide free transit for youths and seniors in an effort to boost Oakville Transit ridership is paying off.

With Oakville Transit ridership down and Town Council looking to different ways to get residents back on the bus and return numbers to pre-pandemic levels, a new permanent program was launched for youth and seniors to ride free effective May 1, 2023.

Riders between the ages of 13 and 19 and those 65 and older can ride for free provided they have a PRESTO card and tap when boarding the bus.

In a look at the numbers in the first month of the program, Oakville Transit says youth ridership on the bus in May was up 85 per cent, while senior ridership increased by 127 percent.

“Initial data from @OakvilleTransit show tremendous increases in ridership during the first month of the free transit for Youth and Seniors program in @townofoakville,” Oakville Mayor Rob Burton said on Twitter.

Kids under 12 also ride free by tapping on board with a PRESTO card or when traveling with a parent/guardian.

Ward 1 Town and Regional Councillor Sean O’Meara pushed for the free ride program to be permanent when it was re-introduced as a pilot program back in late January.

“Five years from now we want them using the buses,” he said in a council meeting at the time.

Customers who do not have a PRESTO card when boarding will be required to pay a fare of $4, payable by cash (exact change only) or by credit card by tapping the card on the PRESTO device when boarding.

Customers can purchase PRESTO cards for $6 at the ServiceOakville counter at Town Hall, Oakville Transit or at any Shopper’s Drug Mart location in Oakville.

Youth and seniors can travel for free all day long, seven days a week on all Oakville Transit services: conventional fixed routes, care-A-van and Ride On-Demand (Home to Hub).

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