Dec 13, 2018, Victoria •
Just in time for the holidays, the Victoria Foundation has announced a huge gift to those grappling with the cost of public transit in our region. A grant of nearly $23,000 will support agencies around Greater Victoria to provide more than 17,000 free bus trips to people struggling to make ends meet.
“The Victoria Foundation is very happy to be able to grant these funds, especially at this time of year when many people are more financially strapped than usual,” said Victoria Foundation CEO Sandra Richardson. “Our annual Victoria’s Vital Signs report highlights the importance of accessible transportation for all people to satisfy basic necessities and fully participate in society. The evidence shows an ongoing need to support vulnerable, low-income populations in our community so that they can get to and from work, as well as access services such as health care, food banks and other programs. The bus ticket program that this grant will go towards is an efficient and effective way of doing just that.”
Since 1997, the Victoria Regional Transit Commission through BC Transit has provided bus tickets, and more recently passes, to the Community Social Planning Council to distribute through social service agencies. Agencies must have a mandate to work primarily with low income people and provide assurance that the tickets are being distributed free of charge to assist people with low income with urgent transport needs. Agencies purchase tickets and passes through the Community Council which are matched on a 1-to-1 basis with free tickets from the Transit Commission.
Last year, 65 agencies purchased more than 110,000 bus tickets to distribute to clients for free. In the New Year, the Community Council will use the Victoria Foundation grant to provide 17,000 tickets free of charge to agencies struggling to afford the cost of the 1-for-1 program. Funds will also be used to help offset a portion of the operating costs associated with running the program.
“The Council is grateful to the Victoria Foundation and its donors for helping to expand this invaluable program,” said Heather Gardner, Chief Executive Director of the Community Social Planning Council. “We hear from many people that the cost of living is becoming more and more unbearable each day. Costs are rising well beyond wage increases. This program really makes a huge difference for so many people, and especially for families who have multiple activities each day.”