Over 100,000 residents living in Metro Edmonton are currently living below the Low-income Cut-off (LICO) for a single individual. This means they are making less than $23,647 a year before taxes or approx. $1,400 a month after taxes. Once you pay rent, let's say $775 a month for a one bedroom apartment, this is of course if you are lucky enough to find an affordable place to live. With Edmonton’s vacancy rate sitting around 1.4%, finding accommodations to fit your budget can be very hard.
Did you know that over the last seven years the ETS adult pass has jumped 30 dollars to land at $89/month? That doesn’t sound like much compared to car payments, insurance and gas but when you are trying to survive on $625 a month after paying rent it is a large sum each and every month. For many, public transit is an integral part of life, but if you are living on or below the poverty line it is often your only connection to employment, groceries, support services and social activities.
For the 100,000 individuals living in poverty in Metro Edmonton the possibility of being able to obtain a Low Income Transit pass is long over due. Having access to a pass that costs 60% less than the current transit pass loosens the constraints on an already extremely tight monthly budget. Which frees up those dollars so they can be spent on additional groceries, debt payments or simply having a few extra bucks in the bank and makes life just a bit easier.
The Edmonton Transit System Advisory Board (ETSAB) recommended that the qualifications for a Low Income Transit Pass follow the same qualifications as the Leisure Access Program.
The City of Edmonton residents that meet the following would be eligible:
- Those on AIHS/ Income Support
- Those on AIHS/ Income Support and have a Treaty Status Card
- Holders of a plastic health Benefits Card
- New immigrants or refugees ( in Canada less than one year and have not filed a tax return)
- Children under government care
- Those whose household income is less then the Low-income Cut-off (LICO)