Who will qualify for low income Winnipeg Transit pass? Winnipeg council to debate

A Winnipeg Transit Peggo card.
A Winnipeg Transit Peggo card. Elisha Dacey/Global News

A promise made by Winnipeg mayor Brian Bowman is one step further down the road.

The city’s administration has sent a report to be debated by the city’s infrastructure committee Tuesday, outlining how a proposed low income transit pass will work, who will qualify, and how.

“The project is on schedule to begin accepting applications on April 1, 2020 with the May 2020 monthly bus pass being the first low income product for sale,” reads the report.

READ MORE: Winnipeg city councillors debating future of low-income bus pass

To qualify for a pass, Winnipeggers must be between 18 and 64 years old, live in the city, and either on EIA, part of a household that is below the Before-Tax Low Income Cut Off or a new permanent resident or refugee who has lived in Canada for less than a year and has yet to file a tax return.

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“Youth already receive a 30% discount on monthly passes and a program to provide reduced fare for children under 12 is currently being considered by the 2020 Budget Working Group,” said the report.

The low-income bus pass program will be phased in over three years. The first year, from May 2020-April 2021, there will be a 30 per cent discount on a full fare monthly pass. The following year will be 40 per cent, and subsequent years will be 50 per cent.

The phasing in process will give Winnipeg Transit time to absorb the costs and adjust personnel. The annual costs range from about $600,000 the first year to just over $3 million by 2024.

Source: City of Winnipeg
Source: City of Winnipeg.

People will need to prove they qualify for the discount through an application process, and will need to re-apply every year.

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Selling or sharing the card is not allowed, and those caught doing so will be suspended from the program for at least six months, and will have to re-apply to get in, reads the report, however, administration anticipates it will be hard to police.

“The ‘black market’ sale and sharing of the low income fare product is a significant issue other municipalities have identified. Certain program parameters are proposed to add a level of control over the distribution of peggo cards and the monthly fare product purchases,” they said.

“However, given the structure of the program, activities that may include selling or misuse of the low income pass are ultimately very difficult to control.”

All the passes must be on Peggo cards, they will not be on paper passes, according to the report.

The report will still have to go before city council before approval.

Read the report below: