No more free Monday bus rides for seniors in Sudbury
'I know a lot of seniors in our community will no longer be taking the bus'
Higgins estimates between 15 to 20 people learned how to take the bus with her last year. Together, they discovered new parts of Sudbury.
"I hadn't gone that way before. I had no reason to," Higgins said about visiting Chelmsford and Hanmer.
"It's just an adventure."
The perk Higgins and her group used to enjoy is now over.
The cost to continue the service in 2017 would have been $100,000.
Program encouraged seniors to make appointments on Mondays
"To me, it's a real slap in the face," said Barb Nott, co chair of the city's Seniors Advisory Panel.
Councillor Evelyn Dutrisac, who is on the Seniors Advisory Panel, tried to keep free transit for seniors on Mondays, but the majority of her colleagues did not support her.
"A lot of our seniors are finding it hard to make ends meet," Dutrisac said.
At its peak, the pilot program brought in up to 4,000 rides per month.
'Money could be going towards something else'
Monique Mercier started taking the bus on Mondays last year, but now she is not sure she will continue.
"I know a lot of seniors in our community will no longer be taking the bus," Mercier said.
"They won't because that money could be going towards something else."
The city will offer older adults training on how to use the bus, according to transit director Michelle Ferrigan.
Councillor wants to see public transportation free for seniors
"I do not feel that we should be putting a financial barrier on them to move around the city," Kirwan said.
"I think we have to take a look at a program that could be as drastic as allowing them to ride free on public transit."
Bus fares expected to climb
Now that the pilot is over, the city is also considering a three per cent fare increase.
If approved by council, the cost of taking the bus for seniors will go up five cents from $2.25 to $2.30 in February.
The fee for adults will rise 10 cents from $3.10 to $3.20.