Victoria mayor and council are obscuring the financial accountabilities associated with allowing free bus fare, said Langford Mayor Stewart Young.
“We got to start understanding that it’s all on the taxpayer,” he said, adding Langford will not be raising its taxes any more than the 2.5 per cent already agreed to this year.
Victoria council passed a motion last Thursday at the committee of the whole urging the regional transit commission to begin phasing out bus fares.
If Victoria wants to provide a free bus transit service, Young would support them and not step in the way, he said. But adding that service in Langford would add a strain on a population already struggling with a housing affordability crisis, he noted.
People working hard to make their mortgage payments should not have to pay for someone who has an income to afford taking the bus, he said. “We are just adding another layer to the affordability of a house.”
Local transit authorities and provincial governments already have assistance programs for people struggling financially to get a bus pass, he added.
“I don’t support somebody as a councillor in Victoria, passing a motion and putting us all through a bunch of rhetoric and discussion that really does not make any common sense.”