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Rally held as council debates low-income transit passes

Last Updated Nov 25, 2019 at 12:11 pm MST

(PHOTO: Saif Kaisar, 660 NEWS)

CALGARY (660 NEWS) – Demonstrators marched through Stephen Ave. Monday morning, calling upon city council to protect those who are most vulnerable.

They want councillors to stop considering raising the prices of low-income transit passes.

This comes as the city faces budget constraints.

The monthly pass rates are based on how much an applicant earns, the less they make, the less they are charged.

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“It doesn’t sound like a lot of money, but you need to think about a family of six living on less than $30,000 a year,” explained Rev. Anna Greenwood-Lee. She’s a spokesperson with #KeepCalgaryStrong, who organized the rally. “If their transit cost goes from $5 per person to $18 per person in that family, that’s about $130 a month in increased (costs).”

Depending on income, pass costs are $5.30, $37.10, and $53 per month.

City staff is recommending raising the costs to $18.55, $43.60, and $59.95, respectively.

“Two-thirds of the people who use this pass are living at half the poverty line or below,” Greenwood-Lee added. “And they cannot afford an increase of this size.”

Over 66,000 Calgarians who earn less than $13,000 per year use low-income transit passes to get around the city.

“Nobody wants a tax increase, but nobody is really thinking through what this might mean for the most vulnerable in our city,” Greenwood-Lee said.