Regina council approves to make transit free for those under 13 and under

Public transit will be free for those under the age of 13.

Regina city council voted unanimously on Wednesday to approve the decision.

Previously, transit was only accessible for kids four and under, with youth between the ages of five and 14 having to pay $2.75 to ride the bus.

Councillor Shanon Zachidniak brought forward a unanimously passed amendment that changed the motion so children could take transit without having to be accompanied by a paying adult.

“When we have the term fair paying adult it also restricts the possibility of someone riding with an older sibling or a babysitter on the bus, and I just don’t think is an appropriate distinction.”

As for the safety of kids on the bus, Kim Onrait, the City’s executive director of citizen services, said that the bus operators are trained to handle if a child is in trouble.

“The operators are trained well enough that if a young child got on a bus and there was an issue, they would immediately contact our dispatch office, one of our supervisors would be on the scene immediately and if required, we would have police there also.”

The change, which will start on August 28, will cost the City $2,000 annually.

Council also voted 7-1 to approve an increase to paratransit charter rates.

The increase will help cover the increasing cost of service. As of September 1, 2022, the lift-equipped contract cost is $60.62 per hour, but that fee will slowly increase over time. By July 1, 2025, the rate will be $64.58 per hour.

City administration said the rate would also impact those who use the charter service, most of which is purchased by the school districts in Regina.

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