WHEREAS local governments in the Capital Region have declared a climate emergency, pledging to achieve carbon neutrality by 2030 to avoid the worst consequences of global warming;
AND WHEREAS emissions from transportation generate the majority of community-based emissions within the region, meaning that switching from private vehicles to public transit has the potential to make a very large impact in achieving carbon neutrality;
AND WHEREAS forward-looking jurisdictions around the world from Kingston, Ontario to Luxembourg and Estonia are eliminating user-fee barriers to public transit ridership, with public transit services paid through the tax system rather than at the fare box.
THEREFORE, WE THE UNDERSIGNED, call on the Victoria Regional Transit Commission and BC Transit to:
Embrace determined climate leadership through a major expansion of public transit ridership in the Capital Region, focused on the phasing out of user fees and a substantial improvement in service levels and fleet electrification.
Begin implementing this climate-action policy with a pilot programme in the 2020 budget eliminating user fees for people 18 years of age and younger, replacing revenues currently generated through fares with adjustments to provincial transfers and the property tax requisition.
Develop an implementation plan to eliminate user fees for all riders within the Capital Region no later than 2022, as a form of climate action, including enhanced service levels, enhanced transit priority including an extensive network of bus lanes, and fleet expansion to meet increased demand, in conjunction with fleet electrification.