Councillor pitches free transit for city’s homeless 0
Vancouver is urging other cities to support a homeless transit plan. (24 HOURS FILE PHOTO)
A Vancouver city councillor is concerned homeless people will miss the bus when TransLink’s new Compass Card system becomes operational.
Coun. Geoff Meggs has tabled a motion to be debated next week to find a solution with the province and other service providers so homeless people can use transit once fare gates are in effect.
Commuters currently buy paper tickets to use transit in Vancouver, but the new system involves charging plastic cards with cash and using them to get through fare gates.
Homeless shelters currently distribute the paper tickets provided by BC Housing and Meggs said the strategy won’t be an option when the Compass Card come into effect later this year.
He said people could then have trouble getting to shelters.
“We know that giving people shelter, not only is it an ethical thing to do, but it’s a much cheaper way to manage the problems of homelessness and housing,” he said. “It gets them in touch with treatment and it puts them on track for housing in many cases.”
His motion in part calls for a task force to develop a regional transit plan for Metro Vancouver’s homeless, including providing the Compass Cards to homeless people “as required.”
“It would be penny wise and pound foolish to say ‘well, you’ve got to be able to find your own way to the shelter,’’ he said.