COPE’s Meena Wong Will Extend Universal Transit Program to All Vancouverites for “a dollar a day”

October 15th, 2014

COPE mayoral candidate Meena Wong announced today that COPE will work extend the universal transit pass program to all residents of Vancouver for “a dollar a day.” The universal (U-Pass) program has been a success at colleges and universities by increasing ridership and reducing fares, congestion, and carbon emissions. COPE will put a Vancouver Pass, or V-Pass, in everyone’s hand.

The V-pass will make transit more affordable

“To build a Vancouver everyone can afford, we need to reduce transit fares,” said Meena Wong. “A dollar-a-day Vancouver transit pass would save each transit rider $1,680 per year.”

  • Bus fares have increased almost every year. A three zone pass now costs $170/month.

  • Most university students in the city pay only about $35/month.

The V-Pass will increase transit ridership

“Putting a transit pass in each person’s hand helps them switch from cars to transit,” said Wong. “Creating an incentive to take transit reduces a family’s cost-of-living. The cost to drive a car is $10,000 per year. The cost of a Vancouver Pass will be $365 a year.”

  • When the U-Pass program was introduced at UBC, ridership increased 53% in the first year alone.

  • When a Community Pass was introduced for non-students at UBC, ridership grew 65%.

  • In Boulder Colorado, where the Community Pass model was spearheaded, ridership increased 50%.

The V-Pass will reduce carbon emissions

“Taking transit is the best thing you can do to reduce the city’s carbon emissions,” said Wong. “Cars is the biggest source of greenhouse gas emissions in Vancouver.”

In 2010 in Metro Vancouver 53% of greenhouse gas emissions (or 5.5 million tonnes) were caused by vehicles.

“Like the U-Pass program at colleges and universities, the V-pass program will be cost-neutral,” said Wong.

The V-Pass program will be cost-neutral

  • TransLink currently collects about $150 million in fares from Vancouver residents.

  • If each working-age Vancouverite paid for a $30/month pass, it would generate $160 million for the transit system annually.

  • There is also the option of creating a fund to pay for those who opt-out. That subsidy will be funded by rolling back Vision’s tax breaks on large corporations
  • TransLink estimates that switching from car to transit will reduce a person’s CO2 emissions over four-fold, from 224 grams of greenhouse gases per km travelled to only 50 grams.

  • Vision Vancouver is seeking to reduce automobile usage in Vancouver from 55% to 50% by 2020. That’s not good enough. We’ll never become a truly “green” city at that rate.