Motions for improved transit affordability

Last November 2020, I asked Transit Commission to consider affordability issues for public transit in Ottawa. The Working Group that the Commission struck has been looking at the issue since then and we came up with a plan. Today, I tabled three motions (below):

1. provide people experiencing homelessness with free transit passes via the shelter system;

2. recommend a permanent fare freeze for for the Community Pass, the Access Pass, and the EquiPass;

3. write to the federal government and request ongoing funding so that we can reduce fares for everyone.

The motions will be voted on at the next Transit Commission budget meeting on November 17, 2021 and will then be considered by Council.

 

Transit Commission / Commission du transport en commun Notice of Motion / Avis de motion

Meeting date / date de réunion : 3 November 2021 / 3 novembre 2021

Agenda No. / NO d’article :

Item Title / Titre de l’article :

ACS No. / NO ACS :

Item No. on Agenda / NO de l’article à l’ordre du jour :

Re / Objet : Weekly and monthly passes for residents of emergency shelters

Moved by / Motion de : Councillor C. McKenney

WHEREAS the Transit Commission at its meeting of November 18, 2020, established a working group of its members to work with staff to review and recommend possible modifications to the OC Transpo fare structure to reduce financial barriers which reduce the ability to travel for those who need it the most and can afford it the least; and

WHEREAS the working group has met, has directed staff to conduct research, and has taken into account the expressed views of social agencies providing emergency shelter services; and

WHEREAS the working group members agree that increased access to transit services for emergency shelter clients provides a benefit not only to people experiencing homelessnessbut also to the City as a whole; and

WHEREAS the working group members agree that providing access to the transit system for emergency shelter clients, who do not currently purchase transit fares and who cannot in their circumstance afford to purchase transit fares, does not represent a loss of revenue to the City; and

WHEREAS implementing this program would have no financial impact on the 2022 operating budget and requires only amending the user fee table; and

THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED THAT the Transit Commission recommend Council approve as follows:

1. That a program be established for the issuance of weekly and monthly transit passes for emergency shelter clients; and

2. That these passes be provided at no charge to the social agencies providing emergency shelter services, so that they may distribute them to their clients; and

3. That the agencies document the procedures under which they will distribute and control the passes through funding agreements with the City; and

4. That staff produce up to 2000 of these passes per period, in a mixture of weekly and monthly forms, that matches the needs of the agencies; and

5. That staff develop and implement appropriate procedures to monitor the use of these passes; and

6. That Schedule “C” (Fares for Transit Services) of the Transit By-law (By-law No. 2007-268) be amended accordingly to create a new category, Emergency Shelter Clients; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED THAT staff monitor the distribution and use of these passes and provide further recommendations to the Transit Commission to expand or revise the program as appropriate.

 

Transit Commission / Commission du transport en commun Notice of Motion / Avis de motion

Meeting date / date de réunion : 3 November 2021 / 3 novembre 2021

Agenda No. / NO d’article :

Item Title / Titre de l’article :

ACS No. / NO ACS :

Item No. on Agenda / NO de l’article à l’ordre du jour :

Re / Objet : Fare freeze in next term of Council

Moved by / Motion de : Councillor C. McKenney

WHEREAS the Transit Commission at its meeting of November 18, 2020, established a working group of its members to work with staff to review and recommend possible modifications to the OC Transpo fare structure to reduce financial barriers which reduce the ability to travel for those who need it the most and can afford it the least; and

WHEREAS the 2022 draft budget includes a fare freeze for transit customers who purchase the monthly Community Pass, the monthly Access Pass, or the monthly or single-ride EquiPass fares; and

WHEREAS the working group members agree that the fare freeze has been an appropriate way during the current term of Council to respect and address the financial challenges of people with disabilities and low-income residents; and

WHEREAS it is anticipated that the 2022-2026 Term of Council Governance Review would include high-level overview and recommendations regarding the anticipated budget process for the next Term of Council, and that the Chief Financial Officer / Treasurer would be bringing forward draft budget directions to Council early in the new Term prior to tabling of the 2023 Budget;

THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED THAT the Transit Commission recommend Council direct the Chief Financial Officer / Treasurer, General Manager of Transit Services and General Manager of Community and Social Services to undertake a review of the Working Group’s recommendation that the next Council consider a fare freeze for the Community Pass, the Access Pass, and the EquiPass for the entire Term of Council; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that staff report back on the results of this review as part of the 2018-2022 Term of Council Governance Review so that Council may consider this recommendation as soon as possible in the new Term of Council.

 

Transit Commission / Commission du transport en commun Notice of Motion / Avis de motion

Meeting date / date de réunion : 3 November 2021 / 3 novembre 2021

Agenda No. / NO d’article :

Item Title / Titre de l’article :

ACS No. / NO ACS :

Item No. on Agenda / NO de l’article à l’ordre du jour :

Re / Objet : Federal funding for public transit

Moved by / Motion de : Councillor C. McKenney

WHEREAS the City of Ottawa’s current transit funding model requires transit users to pay 55 percent of the cost of transit, with general property tax revenues paying the rest; and

WHEREAS the federal government’s national and international commitments to combat climate change include support for public transit;

THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED THAT Council direct the Mayor and Transit Commission Chair write to the federal government requesting operational funding through the federal gas tax or other channels to reduce the user share of the cost of public transit so that we can reduce or eliminate user fees and encourage more transit use.

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