Saanich students protest transit fare hike

Group of Reynolds secondary students upset with discontinuation of student pass

Five members from Reynolds secondary’s Action Now activist group

Five members from Reynolds secondary’s Action Now activist group

A group of Reynolds secondary students shared their displeasure with BC Transit’s recent change to student bus fares in Greater Victoria when they delivered 66 letters of protest last week.

Grade 12 Rebecca Hansen of Reynolds’ Action Now, a student-led activist group, put out the call for students at Reynolds to share their concerns.

After eight weeks, the students have had a chance to experience the new fares.

What’s irked the students is the April 1 removal of the discounted six- and 12-month pass for students that worked out to just $35 per month. To get their discount, students must now buy a $45 monthly pass (same for seniors). It’s less than the adult fare of $85, but still reflects a downloading of costs onto students that Hansen says is unfair. The crew is also against the removal of the paper transfer which was replaced (for trips beyond an hour) with the new day pass of $5.

“The new fare system is penalizing students for relying on the buses,” she said. ”We don’t have an income, some students take public transit to get to school, and it’s making it harder for us to use transit. It’s offensive that the burden of the cost of transit falls to students.”

The group hasn’t called for a solution but are trying to have their voice heard for now.

“It’s a call to make student transit more affordable, and [a reminder] the trips we make aren’t for luxury, we need to get to school, sometimes that takes two buses (transfer),” Hansen said.

Jenni Allin, in Grade 11, uses public transit to get home from school and to get to work. The amount of money she spends is in between the old pass and the new pass, cutting into the wage she earns at a part-time job.

“If you count the fares that I use to get home and to work it is not worth it to buy a $45 pass, but it was to get the $35 pass.”

Action Now started four years ago. This year they’ve focused on feminism, sexual consent, Human Rights Day and now B.C. Transit.

 

reporter@saanichnews.com

 

 

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