A City of Red Deer report looking at cheaper bus fares suggests that several larger Alberta cities offer some kind of break to those on government assistance.
Transit manager Kevin Joll’s report to city council reveals that the range is great as to whether a city offers more affordable fares to individuals on low income or Assured Income for the Severely Handicapped (AISH).
Low-income fares are not offered in Lethbridge, Medicine Hat, Airdrie or Banff.
However, offering cheaper fares is more prevalent when it comes to AISH.
Calgary, Edmonton, Strathcona County, St. Albert and Grande Prairie give breaks.
For instance, Grande Prairie gives a free monthly pass to 200 people on AISH. Calgary sells $40 monthly passes to 7,000 people or more who are on AISH/low-income.
In total, five of 11 transit systems surveyed are choosing to offer discounts for individuals receiving AISH or earning below the Low-Income Cut Off.
This rate for Red Deer families in 2009 ranged from $19,000 for one individual to just over $50,000 for seven individuals or more in a family.
The 2006 federal census indicates there are 9,155 individuals earning below this rate in Red Deer.
The annual gross single income for an individual on AISH is $18,000.
For couples or single parents, the gross income is $30,000.
Red Deer is comparing notes because some people in the community would like a break for riding the bus. During operational budget talks in January, council asked administration in January to look into the possibility.
Currently, regular fares for students and seniors are discounted by 13 per cent. Those passes offered through the public and Catholic school districts are discounted by 18 per cent and 44 per cent respectively.
The seniors’ Guaranteed Income Supplement pass is half price.
About 50 seniors take advantage of this discount.
Council decided on Monday that the report will go to the city’s Governance and Policy Committee for its review.