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Jurgens kicks off transit program increase

Tyler
Tyler Clarke
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Prince Albert Northcote MLA Victoria Jurgens announced an increase to the province’s Discounted Bus Pass program on Friday, which provides $25 subsidies for monthly bus passes. The City of Prince Albert sells about 300 of these subsidized passes per month -- about half of the monthly passes sold. 

Tacking an additional $60,000 onto the province’s Discounted Bus Pass program, the province is subsidizing public transit to the tune of $1.6 million.

 

With Prince Albert’s municipal transit system users joining others across the province in benefiting from the increase, Prince Albert Northcote MLA Victoria Jurgens made the announcement on Friday.

“A bus may seem like another mode of transportation and a way to get from point A to point B, but to many people across the province it is far more than that,” Jurgens said.

“To a young father, this is his delivery truck -- a way to get groceries home to his family.

“To a worried mother, this bus is an ambulance – a way to get her sick child to the doctor on a very cold winter day.

“To another, this bus is a taxi -- a way to visit a friend or a loved one and escape the loneliness and isolation that many end up feeling.”

The Discounted Bus Pass program pares down monthly bus passes by $25 for those enrolled in the Saskatchewan Assured Income for Disability, Saskatchewan Assistance Program, Transitional employment allowances, Saskatchewan Employment Supplement and provincial training loans.

“This programming, then, provides program recipients the freedom and dignity to live independently,” Jurgens said of these low-income earners.

The City of Prince Albert also plays a role, bumping the monthly bus pass program cost even lower for those on some form of social assistance, bringing all monthly fares to $15.

A bus may seem like another mode of transportation and a way to get from point A to point B, but to many people across the province it is far more than that. Victoria Jurgens

This, despite passes costing varying rates, from $35 for children to $67.50 for adults.

Of the 679 bus passes sold in April, almost half were subsidized, city manager Jim Toye said.

Jurgens estimates that about 3,500 of “Prince Albert’s most vulnerable” will benefit from the Discounted Bus Pass program.

“This program is an excellent example of how the province and municipalities are working together to support society’s most vulnerable people to return to the workforce,” she said.

“Bus passes will continue to be affordable right across the province.”

Mayor Greg Dionne agreed with this sentiment, thanking the provincial government for their increased support in subsidizing fares.

It’s a “timely” announcement, Dionne said, noting that the city’s public transit system is currently up for review, with user groups requesting extended service hours -- something the city’s elected officials will review and consider prior to finalizing next year’s budget.

While Jurgens made the announcement at Prince Albert City Hall, her elected counterparts made similar announcements in Regina, Saskatoon, Yorkton, North Battleford and Moose Jaw. 

Organizations: Prince Albert, Saskatchewan Assured Income for Disability

Geographic location: Prince Albert, Regina, Saskatoon Yorkton North Battleford Moose Jaw

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