Vancouver City Councillor

BC Transit’s ticket assistance program: practical transit help for people in need

My call for a Translink working group to develop a homeless action transit plan as the Compass card arrives has generated widespread media interest and this simple question: what happens now?

Although there is no single description of the current system within Translink’s borders — generally packets of tickets are provided to service providers by BC Housing — this summary of Victoria’s system, operated through BC Transit, tells how important such a plan can be.

Since its creation in 1997, the Victoria plan has gone from 5,000 tickets a year, distributed through social service agencies, to 80,000 tickets and 440 passes (all figures from 2010). For each ticket purchased by an agency, BC Transit gives a free ticket.

There seems no reason at all why a similarly effective plan can’t be implemented here — the Compass card, in fact, may help. Certainly Translink has indicated its readiness to work out the details.