British Columbia

Children 12 and under now ride for free on B.C. public transit

The change to the fare structure, which comes into effect Wednesday, means children in B.C. won’t have to pay to take the bus, SkyTrain or SeaBus.

Change applies to TransLink and B.C. Transit networks

SkyTrain fare gates are pictured in downtown Vancouver on April 20, 2020. As of Sept. 1, 2021, children 12 and under can ride public transit in B.C. for free. (Jonathan Hayward/The Canadian Press)

Kids aged 12 and under can now ride for free on public transit in B.C.

The change, which comes into effect Wednesday, includes rides on TransLink systems in Metro Vancouver and B.C. Transit across the rest of the province.

It means children won't have to pay to take buses or the SkyTrain, SeaBus and West Coast Express.

"As our population increases, the need for climate-friendly forms of transportation continues to grow," Environment and Climate Change Minister George Heyman said Wednesday.

"Public transit reduces road congestion, supports our economy and offers a cleaner, low-carbon way of getting around that works for people."

For buses, children 12 and under can board without any kind of pass or identification — though B.C. Transit is requiring children under five to be accompanied by someone aged 12 or older.

For SkyTrain and SeaBus, TransLink said children will need to be accompanied by a fare-paying adult who can tap them through the fare gate. The adult can bring a maximum of four children with them.

While kids travel free, parents and guardians "remain responsible for providing adequate provisions for the safety and care of their children whenever travelling on transit, including when travelling unaccompanied and determining if their children may take transit unaccompanied,'' B.C. Transit said in a statement.

There are roughly 370,000 children in B.C. eligible for the free rides, according to officials.

The province said the change could save Metro Vancouver families up to $687 per year. Families using B.C. Transit could save $420 annually, officials said.

Also as of Wednesday, children under 12 can apply to register as a HandyDART user. To be eligible for HandyDART, children must be unable to take conventional transit due to a disability.

Children on HandyDART must be accompanied by an adult.


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