free public transit

More cities in Canada are now calling for public transit to be totally free

Cities across Canada are now petitioning for free public transit, and the movement is gathering momentum.

Free public transit — funded through taxation by the local or national government — does exist. Luxembourg is the first country in the world to make public transit free, and several European cities have similar systems in place.

Now, Canadian cities are moving to do the same.

In Edmonton, a group called Free Transit Edmonton are campaigning for free transit across the city.

The group has created a "Transit Week Challenge," where they're inviting city councillors to take public transit all next week. To work, to errands, to events — the councillors are encouraged to only travel via transit for seven days.

People in Edmonton have also been reaching out to their local representatives to get involved.

In Victoria and Vancouver, many have pointed out that public buses are often more convenient (and eco-friendly) than driving.

Some argue that by making public transit free, low-income groups would be able to afford it.

In Toronto, transit workers have been advocating for free transit since at least last July.

People in Toronto are even suggesting emulating the New York free transit protest that shut-down Grand Central station last month.

In Ottawa, a group of citizens have also started a petition to make public transit free and accessible.

An Ottawa city councillor revealed that the city was even considering a motion for free transit in October, but the Mayor and several councillors passed on it.

Several years ago, the idea of free public transit in Canada might have been unfathomable for many people.

But now, the idea is certainly gaining loyal followers.

Free public transit in Canada would make travel more accessible to low-income groups and reduce carbon emissions — with the obvious drawback of coming out of taxpayers' pockets.

The NDP advocated for free public transit as part of their Green New Deal in 2019.

Lead photo by

Jason Cook

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