Free Transit Pilot Project

Partnership with the City of Vancouver

The Single Mothers' Alliance is one of four community partners carrying out the City of Vancouver's Reduced Fare Transit Pilot Project. The City of Vancouver is in the final stages of developing its first Poverty Reduction Plan. Lack of access to affordable transportation emerged as a major barrier through this work. Transportation is inextricably linked to people's economic and social well-being and their ability to access systems that can assist them. 

Pilot Genesis

The City of Vancouver Council endorsed the #AllOnBoard campaign in January 2019, calling on TransLink to develop a plan for free transit for youth and reduced fare transit for low income residents based on a sliding scale. When the Province of BC announced funding for poverty reduction pilot projects, the City chose to put forward a reduced fare transit pilot in line with the #AllOnBoard campaign platform, the results from which could be used in discussions about more sustainable program funding from the City, Province, and TransLink. 

A Peer-led Pilot Model

This pilot will provide free fare unlimited transit to youth, families, and adults with low incomes in Vancouver for six months. The research will evaluate the impact that free transit has on peoples’ daily lives, specifically when looking at relieving time and financial pressures. The project is led by three SMA member Peer Researchers who shape and inform the project and carry out data collection with 30 pilot participants recruited by SMA. Pilot participants include a diversity of youth, lone-mothers, and family members living below the poverty line in Vancouver. In September 2021 every pilot participant received a free monthly one-zone transit pass for six months.

Building on #AllOnBoard Momentum 

The BC Poverty Reduction Coalition, the SMA and many other organizations played a key role in the work of the #AllOnBoard campaign to secure free transit for children up to age 12. This new initiative was implemented in all transit systems in BC as of September 2021. The City of Vancouver's pilot project takes #AllOnBoard momentum forward to go beyond 0-12 and study the impact of free, universally accessible transit on a diversity of people living in poverty.