Hamilton Councillor wants new Fare Assist transit pilot program ‘re-considered’

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Published December 11, 2023 at 1:13 pm

Hamilton Street Railway

A new program that will bump fares for low-income Hamilton residents from half-off to just a 30 per cent reduction and end free use (voluntary pay) for riders with mobility devices will be back on City Council’s agenda Wednesday, with Councillor Esther Paul hoping to get support from her colleagues to reconsider the motion.

A two-thirds majority is required to get the motion back on the floor.

Council approved a pilot program July 14 that would end the Affordable Transit Pass Program for Ontario Works recipients and the Temporary Transit Fare Special Program for CNIB cardholders and those who use a personal mobility device such as a wheelchair, scooter or walker.

Those programs, which allow eligible residents to purchase an adult monthly pass on Hamilton Street Railway (HSR) for half price and provide a voluntary pay option, will end January 1 to be replaced for the new pilot program called Fare Assist.

The new program provides eligible Hamilton residents a 30 per cent discount on single-ride PRESTO fares for themselves and their family if they are recipients of Ontario Works, the Ontario Disability Support Program or have household incomes below the federal Low Income Measure.

The HSR is also making transit rides for kids 12 and under permanent.

Families with one child making under $27,352 per year will be eligible under the Fare Assist program. The eligibility then goes up to $38,682 for families with two kids, $47,375 for families with three children and all the way up on a sliding scale to $84,022 with families with ten children.

Eligible families will have to apply for Fare Assist and re-apply each year.

A statement from the City said it expects 88,000 Hamiltonians will benefit from the new program.

Adult fares on programmed PRESTO cards for HSR is $1.89 per trip.

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