The Victoria Regional Transit Commission will provide every refugee resettled in the Greater Victoria region with a free one-year bus pass.
“This initiative will ensure that those fleeing heart-wrenching circumstances are able to get around the city they now call home,” said Kenya Rogers with the University of Victoria Students’ Society.
“Providing a bus pass to refugees is just one way of supporting individuals who are faced with the difficulties of resettlement and integration into a new community. It will allow for newcomers to move freely around the city and to access the many services, community groups, and public spaces in the region.”
Young’s motion to establish the program was passed unanimously by the commission.
The bus passes will be available for refugees resettled in the region between Dec. 1, 2015 and Dec. 31, 2016 and the motion includes a provision that could see it become a permanent program. Although this initiative was a response to the unfolding crises in Syria and the Mediterranean, bus passes will be provided to any refugees resettled in the region, regardless of country of origin.
“We’re very proud that this motion was brought forward by the student representative on the transit commission,” said Andrea Eggenberger, with the Camosun College Student Society.
“It’s exciting that the shared student seat on the transit commission is helping to make the Greater Victoria Region a supportive and welcoming place for refugees.”
Students are now challenging municipalities and transit authorities across the country to provide free transit access to refugees. Those who support the initiative are encouraged to tweet and tag their local public official using the hashtag #WelcomeOnBoard.