Bus Pass Update June 2016
Last week, the Provincial Government announced a slight change to the Provincial Bus Program. Their press release announced that they have eliminated the $45 per year annual administration fee which simplifies the process for keeping your bus pass. They have also stopped talking about a $77 per month increase to benefits, instead saying that the increase was $25 per month, plus a $52 month transportation allowance. If you keep your bus pass, your benefits will increase by $25 per month for September 2016. If you cancel your bus pass, you will receive an increase of $77 per month.
Here is how the Ministry describes your options:
Option 1: I want to keep my bus pass
- You don’t need to do anything.
- You can keep using your bus pass and continue using it after September 1.
- Starting in September (payment date August 24), you will also automatically receive a $25 monthly increase to your PWD payment.
Note: If you change your mind in the future, you can call us before the 5th of any month. You will see the increases outlined in Option 2 on your payment the following month.
Option 2: I want to cancel my bus pass and receive my transportation support as a $52 payment
- You must let us know by August 5, 2016 for this to be in effect for September 1.
- Starting in September (payment date August 24), you will automatically receive $52 on your PWD payment for Transportation Support Allowance.
- You can use the $52 in a way that works best for you.
- Starting in September (payment date August 24), you will also automatically receive a $25 monthly increase on your PWD payment.
- If you choose this option, please hold on to your bus pass until September. You can continue to use it until then. After September 1, you do not need to return it to us but it will no longer be valid.
Note: please remember, you can switch back to the bus pass at any time by letting us know by the 5th day of the month. A new bus pass will be issued to you.
To Apply for a BC Bus Pass
If you have the persons with disabilities designation and are on disability assistance, you can contact the ministry to apply for your BC Bus Pass.
The BC Bus Pass does not expire. At any time, you can contact the ministry to cancel your BC Bus Pass and receive your $52 Transportation Support Allowance on your next assistance payment instead.
If you cancel your bus pass, you can still change your mind at a later date and ask for a new bus pass.
Inclusion BC and a coalition of agencies are continuing to advocate for a return to an annual bus pass plus an increase in disability benefits. They issued a press release last week in response to the government announcement, stating in part:
We are pleased that the Minister has begun the process to address the areas discussed at the March meeting and, as a first step, has eliminated the annual bus pass fee and with it, one of the many barriers faced by British Columbians with disabilities.
I have already heard from a number of people who are going to cancel their bus passes so that they can receive the full $77 increase to their benefits to assist with the essential costs of living in Vancouver. They will miss having their bus pass available whenever they need it, but will now pay to use the bus each time they need to make a trip outside of their neighbourhood. Please let us know your thoughts on the decision you are considering with your bus pass.
We would like to thank Yuji Kajiwara who has been active with Inclusion BC in advocating for changes and attended a press conference in May. Yuji asked the government to invest in people and they will be able to give back to the community.