As the cost of gas soars once more in parts of the province like Metro Vancouver, the BC Greens are proposing a temporary relief measure.
The party, which has two sitting MLAs, is calling on the government to make riding the bus, SkyTrain, Sea Bus and all other forms of public transit free for the next four months.
“British Columbians need immediate relief from the high costs of living. Free transit for the summer is a concrete way to reduce expenses,” Green Leader Sonia Furstenau said Monday.
“Premier (John Horgan) said that people should take the bus because gas prices are out of reach. He can take an important step today to help British Columbians save money, and take cars off of the road.”The price at the pumps hit another record high in Metro Vancouver on Monday at 233.9 per litre. It’s a jump of six cents from Sunday’s prices.
Monthly transit pass costs range between $85 and $181 across the province.
The Greens said making transit free could lead to savings of up to $724 over the next four months.
“We recognize that for many British Columbians, an efficient transit network is not an option. This government has had five years to invest in expanding public transit around the province,” said Furstenau. “Instead, over and over we see the BC NDP promise but fail to be proactive in addressing affordability and climate change.”
The BC Green Party has previously called on the government to use the carbon tax dividend to provide British Columbians with regular rebates, encouraging a shift away from oil and gas.
Last week, Horgan encouraged B.C. drivers to carpool, use alternative modes of transit and “think before” they drive amid record-breaking gas prices.
“We will have measures to help people reduce costs,” Horgan said last week. “But right now I encourage people to think before you hop in the car. Do you need to make that trip? Can you do it with a neighbour or someone going by?”
The BC Liberals have been calling on the NDP government to temporarily suspend provincial gas taxes and import taxes on gas from Alberta, while creating a one-time boost to the Climate Action Tax Credit, in order to provide some relief to motorists.
Alberta suspended its own fuel tax of $0.13 per litre on April 1.
According to its provincial government, the changes led to estimated savings of $6.80 per tank for a 50-litre compact car, $7.21 for a small SUV, $12.65 for a mid-size SUV, $18.50 for a large pickup, and $185.50 per tank for a semi-trailer.
Recent analysis by University of Calgary economist Trevor Tombe showed the tax break in Alberta led to between 87 to 93 per cent of the decrease being reflected at the pump.