Posted April 11, 2017
MiWay is extending its affordable transportation pilot program an extra five months.
Mississauga councillors approved the extension of the $1.4-million pilot program, which offers discounted transit passes to low-income residents, at the April 5 general committee meeting. Delivered in partnership with the Region of Peel, the program will offer half-price, or $65, transit passes to low-income residents until Sept. 30, 2017.
Members of the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now (ACORN) recently protested the potential expiry of the program at the Square One transit terminal. The group had petitions requesting the pilot program be made permanent.
“We think it’s money in people’s pockets at the end of the day,” said Patricja Pryzmus, Mississauga resident and ACORN member.
Launched in May 2016, the program had lower than anticipated enrolment. Staff attributed this to timing, with much of the program promotion done during the summer.
It was extended in October 2016 in an effort to boost numbers and continue to provide relief to those who had been approved.
Officials set the maximum number of participants at 2,500.
To be eligible for the program, residents had to show they have annual incomes below the low-income threshold, set at $19,930 for a single person and for a two-person household, $28,185.
Geoff Marinoff, director of transit for the city, said 2,500 applied, 1,800 met the eligibility criteria, 1,600 picked up Presto cards and 1,300 were activated.
“Program participants have told the city and region that a permanent program is needed to address affordability of transit fares,” said Marinoff. “The additional extension will allow low income Mississauga residents to continue to ride transit at a 50 per cent discount while we evaluate all phases of the pilot program.”
No new applicants will be approved during the five-month extension of the program.
Council is expected to deliver its seal of approval for the extension on April 12. A final evaluation of the program will come to council in September 2017.
Mississauga also offers a $1 senior’s fare during off-peak hours during the week and all day on weekends and holidays.
The City of Hamilton, York Region and Halton Region provide reduced transit fares for low-income individuals.
Article by Rachael Williams for Mississauga.com