British Columbia

B.C. government sends Compass cards to more BC Bus Pass holders

TransLink's faregates will begin closing for good on Monday and to prevent some 18,000 low-income seniors and people receiving disability assistance outside Metro Vancouver from being shut out, the provincial government is sending them Compass cards.

Gesture is to get low-income seniors, those receiving disability assistance through fare gates

Compass cards are being sent to low-income seniors and people on disability assistance who live outside Metro Vancouver. (Lisa Johnson/CBC)

TransLink's faregates will begin closing for good on Monday and to prevent some 18,000 low-income seniors and people receiving disability assistance outside Metro Vancouver from being shut out, the provincial government is sending them Compass cards.

"I understand how important accessible, affordable transportation is for people with disabilities and low-income seniors," said Minister of Social Development and Social Innovation Michelle Stilwell in a government release on Sunday.

"We took this step so that people outside of Metro Vancouver can continue to use their bus passes to access the TransLink system, whether to attend medical appointments or to visit family."

The BC Bus Pass Program offers a reduced-cost, annual bus pass for low income seniors and individuals receiving disability assistance. Passes are valid in communities serviced by BC Transit or TransLink.

The province says 100,000 people have a subsidized BC Bus Pass and while the majority live within the TransLink service area and are using the new Compass card, 18,000 are not.

Without Compass cards, they will not be able to access SkyTrain and SeaBus through fare gates.

"The ministry has worked closely with its partners at BC Transit and TransLink to make this change and to ensure that BC Bus Pass holders continue to have equal access to transit systems across the province," said the release.

The move to supply Compass cards, which will replace BC Transit Bus Passes, comes after Stillwell and her government were criticised by advocacy groups for a controversial claw back, which will take away transit passes for around 35,000 people on disability assistance.

The B.C. Liberals recently increased disability assistance but at the same time took away the free transit passes.

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