‘Get On Board’ is here for kids to ride free this September!
Starting Sept. 1, 2021, children 12 and under will be able to ride on any BC Transit or TransLink service for free.
Whether you take the 401, 406, or other bus with your young child or grandchild for school, sports or family, you know that public transit is an important community issue. As the MLA for Richmond-Steveston, I know that children under 12 are an important part of our commuter community and it is my pleasure to work to make people’s lives better, including the lives of our youth.
This Spring, our provincial government unveiled Budget 2021, a budget that commits to benefit working families across British Columbia. Budget 2021 includes capital investments and policies that ensure quality and accessible infrastructure, affordability, and improvement on the services we depend on.
‘Get on Board’ came out of this Budget, as part of the provincial government's commitment to efficient, reliable and affordable transit for families. It is a victory for the hard-working advocates of this initiative and for working families who need one less worry when getting their young ones from A to B and back. People, young and old, will benefit from a policy that translates to not just more money in families’ pockets but more opportunities for children to take transit to visit family, go to school, and pursue more extracurricular activities.
As well, this policy has greater environmental implications, for all of us who call British Columbia home. Earlier in August, the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) had released its intergovernmental report on our planet’s dire climate change trajectory; this ringing of the alarm bell is not a surprise for us as we recently experienced an intense heat dome in Richmond, where we expect mild temperatures. Previous summers’ skies have been choked with smoke for weeks and we know we need to do more to act on climate change.
Public transportation investment is a climate change solution. Free public transportation for children not only alleviates stress on a family’s budget; it offers an opportunity for us to alleviate stressors on our environment! Many are celebrating this policy for its support to shift away from dependency on private cars that run on fossil fuels and emit high per-user high greenhouse gases (GHG) and helping the next generation comfortably choose public transportation over private vehicles.
We know that work in B.C. to act on climate change must be both systemic and individual: through CleanBC, our government is setting sectoral greenhouse gas targets to guide emission reductions, and supporting people working in B.C. industry and clean tech with investments in new projects. Our government also understands that there is more to do. ‘Get on Board’ is a step in the right direction for the environment and it empowers people to make choices that make environmental and economic sense. I eagerly welcome the combined power of good transportation policy and grassroots culture shift!
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