Free Transit for Youth in Victoria - could it work in Ottawa?

Victoria, BC has announced that it will continue to offer free transit passes to youth aged 18 years and under. 

The original plan (agreed upon in 2019) was for the city to purchase about 7,000 youth passes and distribute them to eligible residents. Unfortunately, fewer youth than expected requested the passes and then transit was free for everyone during the pandemic lockdown.

For the revised plan, Victoria intends to buy fewer passes in advance and provide them upon demand.Youth passes are about $135 per year in Victoria.

The pilot project is funded by Sunday parking fares.

Could this work in Ottawa?

Youth passes are much more expensive in Ottawa - $92.25 per month or $1,107 per year.

Victoria started charging for Sunday parking in May 2019 and expects to collect between $600,000 to $1 million per year.

For such a plan to work, OC Transpo would have to reduce its youth fares and the city would have to consider charging people to park on Sundays.


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