You may have heard or read in the news that my Council colleagues and I have been debating the issue of reduced transit fares for seniors in Mississauga. In a nutshell, the recommendation would allow seniors to ride MiWay buses for $1 during off-peak hours. Staff estimate that the cost (or rather the lost revenue) of such a plan is between $1.0 and $1.4 million annually although some Councillors would argue that it is much lower.
Opponents to the idea suggest that some seniors who can already afford the regular fare would unnecessarily benefit at the expense of other low income riders such as single moms or the under-employed who then might need to offset the loss through a future fare increase.
Those in favour suggest that this discount will target seniors who can’t afford to own their own vehicle or who are unable to drive and are otherwise housebound. Reports indicate that loneliness or social isolation can lead to depression, and mental or physical illness. My Council colleagues putting forward the recommendation also say that the City of Brampton already implemented a $1.00 seniors fare in 2011 and it is working well so far.
The matter has been deferred until a report comes back from the Region of Peel regarding a pilot project on reduced fares for low income riders that is just about completed. I’m looking forward to reviewing this report as I believe it will provide valuable information into our discussion.In the meantime, I would also like to hear from you. Please provide your comments below.