Bus fare ‘kills us’ says senior, as MiWay $1 pilot runs into 2016

BY KELLY ROCHE

Seniors, keep those loonies handy.

The $1 MiWay bus fare pilot project has been extended until city council receives two reports.
One regular Route 13 user was thrilled to learn of the deferral.
“A lot of seniors live in poverty and can’t afford $7 to go and do groceries or go to the bank. It’s a lot of money,” said the senior, who didn’t want her name used.
“Bus fare kills us.” Regular cash fare – which increased by $0.25 last April – is currently $3.50.
She said paying $1 round-trip to run errands within the 90 to 120 minute transfer window amounts to “huge” savings.
Mississauga’s six-month pilot program launched June 29, allowing $1 cash fare for seniors during off-peak hours, including: weekdays from 9:30 a.m. until 3:30 p.m.; weekdays after 7 p.m.; and anytime on weekends and holidays.

Isolated seniors make up 16.6 per cent of our population, according to Mississauga’s Vital Signs 2015 report presented at council October 28; the pilot program was proposed by Ward 5 Coun. Carolyn Parrish.

The estimate for lost revenue is $1 million, according to city staff.
Critics – including Mayor Bonnie Crombie – argue it’s not fair to subsidize seniors and ignore younger people who may be struggling to make ends meet.
A study commissioned by the Institute for Research on Public Policy was released in early 2015, calling on municipalities to halt seniors’ specials.

But a millennial MiWay rider polled said “seniors love seniors’ discounts. It’s more incentive to travel using Mississauga Transit” and leave the car behind.
City and Region of Peel staff will be reporting on the findings of the $1 cash project and the regional affordable transit pilot program in 2016.

WHAT SENIORS PAY

Monthly pass: $57
Ten tickets: $19
Five tickets: $9.50
Presto e-purse: $1.90
Senior ID card*: $5
 *If they don’t have valid photo identification to present as proof of age.
(Source: City of Mississauga)
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